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Symptoms

  • Sharp pain on sole of foot - usually worse with first steps in the morning

  • Sometimes feels like a stone bruise on bottom of foot

  • Pain is almost always on one foot

  • Pain can get worse with repetitive weight bearing exercises and after exercise

 

There are many painful foot injuries which plague athletes involved in different sports. One particular injury that is shared by many different sports including soccer is that of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition which is located on the bottom of the heel and feels much like a stone bruise. As its name implies, it is an inflammatory condition which is a result of micro-tears in the plantar surface or sole of the heel, pass through the arch of the foot and attach again across the metatarsophalangeal joints (knuckles of the forefoot). It is responsible for putting the foot into a rigid lever for push-off and with shock absorption during weight bearing activities. Symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis usually include sharp pain at the heel in the morning upon arising with the first few steps and will tend to decrease with movement. The pain is almost always on one foot only and gets worse with repetitive weight bearing exercise and after exercise. Palpation at the plantar fascia attachment on the heel and along the arch will often times be quite painful.

 

There are factors which contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis. Intrinsic factors such as inflexibility of the calf muscles and Achilles tendon transfer stress to the plantar fascia which may result in micro-tears. Persons who suffer from a condition called pes cavus (abnormally high arches) are also predisposed to developing this condition . The plantar fascia is very tight in these individuals and may be more susceptible to micro-tears. Also, the high arches are rigid and do not dissipate weight bearing forces well. As a result, a greater amount of force is placed through the plantar fascia. In a foot which pronates (the arch goes flat) excessively the plantar fascia is placed on stretch and can also result in micro-tears.

 

Treatment usually consists of icing the painful and inflamed area and reducing the repetitive weight bearing stresses to the foot. Reducing stress to the plantar fascia may include getting into appropriate footwear heel lifts, orthodotics, and/or taping techniques. In more severe cases oral anti-inflammatories, injections and physical therapy are used. In the worst of cases surgery is performed to release the plantar fascia. Consult your physician or health care professional if you have persistent pain or problems as other conditions such as inflammatory arthritis could also be the cause.

 

Rolfing can stretch the plantar fascia (connective tissue on the sole of the foot) often the pain is eliminated after just a few sessions.

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