For those of you following baseball news, Tampa Bay 3rd baseman Evan Longoria, who has apparently been suffering from plantar fasciitis for the better part of a month, re-injured the foot and had to sit out on games this weekend. He is the latest athlete in a long line of people who suffer from this condition. His return seems to be tenuous, and he expects to deal with this condition for awhile.
While it has not been disclosed how he is being treated, its safe to say that as a professional athlete his recovery can be delayed by the frequent activity he will have to endure on his feet. However, is that any different than what our patients whom we treat for plantar fasciitis have to endure? The answer, surprisingly, is not really.
Plantar fasciitis is an extremely common condition, and is the cause of most cases of pain in the heel. At Indiana Podiatry Group, we diagnose and treat this condition multiple times every day. This condition is damage and inflammation in a ligament called the plantar fascia, which begins attached to the bottom of the heel bone and runs along the arch of the foot to the base of the toes. It is often injured due to strain in the foot, usually because of the way one's foot is shaped, but sometimes due to direct injury as well. It is often misdiagnosed as a heel spur, which may be present at the same time but rarely truly causes heel pain on its own.
Plantar fasciitis is treated with foot support to reduce strain to the fascia, as well as aggressive measures to reduce the inflammation causing the pain. This typical course includes a short course of cortisone-like steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medication, icing, and stretching exercises. Treatment may also later include the use of a night splint to stretch the fascia continuously overnight, physical therapy, immobilization in a walking boot, or, in a low number of cases, surgery to repair and heal the fascia damage.
Most people respond well to treatment, and many of our patients are pain-free or nearly pain-free within a month after starting treatment. While this may sound like a long time, the fact is that plantar fasciitis is often a chronic condition, and it takes time to heal.
For a baseball player running the bases, planting his foot, and turning sharply, Evan Longoria may have some work cut out for him on the road to recovery. Such strong, active motions can literally tear the fascia apart, with microtears forming within the tissue that leads to more inflammation. However, this same type of daily injury can occur to anyone who simply stands on their feet all day on a hard surface, or someone who has to frequently get up from a seated position. As long as the fascia remains inflamed, these types of simple daily activities can take a toll on the health and comfort on the plantar fascia. In fact, we see far more people with plantar fasciitis who developed it and keep it injured by simply going through their daily routine, as opposed to injuring it while playing sports. The good news is that we are very experienced at treating plantar fasciitis and all causes of heel pain, and our podiatrists can get our patients back on their feet and back in the game of life in a relatively shot amount of time.
If you are suffering from heel pain, whether for one week or for a year or more, give us a call and get on the road to recovery.