Overuse injury of ligament: Plantar Fasciitis
Q: Why does my foot or arch hurt?
A: It may be plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a very thick band of tissue covering the bones on the bottom of the foot.
The injury occurs from overuse of the ligament and is characterized by:
- Pain you feel on your first step out of bed in the morning or after you have been at rest for 15 to 20 minutes
- Sharp pain inside or at the center of the heel
- Pain that may diminish as you walk but is present throughout the day
Questions to ask yourself include:
- Have I increased the mileage I run recently?
- Have I been running at greater intensity recently?
Q: I am not a runner but I think these symptoms describe what I am feeling. What are some other causes?
A: Other sports and even walking can trigger this condition. People who participate in jumping sports like volleyball and basketball also are at risk for such an injury.
Q: So what can I do to prevent plantar fasciitis or to ease the pain?
A: Dr. Hecht advises that you consider the following aspects of your running program:
- Cut back to some degree.
- Look into a stretching program. You can speak to a physical therapist or a doctor certified in sports medicine to learn how to correctly stretch your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
- Make sure your running shoes are adequate. Are they well-cushioned? Do they fit properly? You may need an over-the-counter orthotic insert, although sometimes custom orthotics may be necessary. This means you can purchase a full-length replacement insole or try to find someone trained as an orthotist to make one for you. Here at DHMC, call Physical Therapy Services at (603) 650- 5978.
Q: I have tried stretching and cutting back on mileage and intensity of my running program. What now?
A: Almost no one needs surgery for this injury. If you have experienced persistent pain for several weeks after changing your behaviors, seek medical attention. Options at this point may include:
- A course of physical therapy
- A night splint or a resting splint
- In "recalcitrant cases" – when your injury resists conventional treatment – you may require up to four weeks in a walking cast.
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