Plantar fasciitis in athletes
The function of the feet is to be able to walk upright on all types of terrain and in all types of conditions, in order to maintain the center of gravity at the optimal point for walking. Therefore, any discomfort that makes it necessary to modify the position of the foot due to pain affects the dynamics of the rest of the body. This causes inadequate postures as a way to compensate for the pain in the feet.
Plantar fasciitis is a very common injury among athletes. This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. If you are an athlete and have been experiencing pain in the heel or near the arch of the foot, you may have plantar fasciitis. Let’s see what causes this condition and how it can be treated.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is most often caused by repetitive motion or overuse of the foot. This could include running, jumping, or any other type of strenuous activity that puts a lot of stress on the feet. It may also be due to improper footwear or lack of stretching before physical activity. In some cases, it may even be due to underlying diseases such as arthritis or diabetes.
Causes of plantar fasciitis injury
The most common causes that end up causing an injury to the fascia and consequently a very annoying pain can be:
- Running long distances on uneven or downhill surfaces generates greater than normal pressure and stress on the plantar fascia area, since in these cases the entire weight of the body is supported, which can lead to injury.
- Being overweight or gaining weight in a short period of time can cause the fascia to suffer and present micro-injuries.
- Bad stepping habits, flat feet or other podiatric problems.
- Continuous use of inadequate footwear for sports. This problem increases with daily work in which one has to be on one’s feet or on the move.
- Poor posture or poor stretching. In the case of athletes it is a recurrent injury.
- Playing sports at an advanced age, due to tissue deterioration, can lead to plantar fasciitis.
- Plantar fasciitis is a common injury in young people and adults, but it is especially common in athletes. It is an affectation of the plantar fascia, a wide, elastic band of tissue found on the sole of the foot that cushions the impact produced by the foot strike. When this band of tissue is injured, the area becomes inflamed and painful.
What are the main symptoms of plantar fasciitis in athletes?
- The main complaint of people with plantar fasciitis is pain in the bottom of the heel or sometimes in the bottom of the midfoot. It usually affects only one foot, but may affect both feet.
- Plantar fasciitis pain develops gradually over time. The pain may be dull or sharp. Some people feel a burning or aching pain in the sole of the foot that extends outward from the heel.
- The pain is usually worse in the morning when you take your first steps out of bed, or if you have been sitting or lying down for a while. Climbing stairs can be very difficult due to heel stiffness.
- After prolonged activity, pain may recur due to increased irritation or inflammation. People with plantar fasciitis usually do not feel pain during activity, but just after stopping.
When to see a specialist?
is characterized by a sharp pain in the sole of the foot, heel and sometimes the back of the leg. This pain may become more severe in the morning and diminish throughout the day, and in many cases does not allow for proper walking. It is also intensified by heavy exertion or carrying too much weight. Going up or down stairs or walking on uneven terrain also increases the level of pain.
Normally, this ailment will go into remission if constant stretching guidelines recommended by specialists are followed for several weeks. In the case of more severe or recurrent injuries, it is sometimes necessary to use customized insoles to correct posture or relieve the area with the help of anti-inflammatories. Surgery in these cases is not usually necessary, however a specialist should always be consulted to treat this problem.
Plantar fasciitis is a very common injury among athletes due to overuse or repetitive motion activities such as running or jumping, which overload the feet. Fortunately, there are many treatments available, such as rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises, orthopedic insoles and anti-inflammatories if necessary, all designed to reduce pain and inflammation and help prevent future injuries. It is important for athletes suffering from plantar fasciitis to consult a physician who specializes in the treatment of sports injuries as soon as possible so that they can return to action quickly without risking further injury in the future.
Article prepared by Clínica San Román
Date of publication: 10-08-2017
Date of revision: 17-2-2023