Plantar Fascitis - Heel Spur Syndrome

Foot & Toe
NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource

Indicators:
The plantar fascia, a major supporting structure of the longitudinal arch, is found on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia begins as a narrow band of tissue on the bottom part of the heel and fans out towards the toes. The plantar fascia acts as a “bowstring” of the longitudinal arch. Often pain is felt along the inside part of the bottom of the heel, especially when getting out of bed in the morning. Pain along the long arch of the foot also occurs when the foot and/or big toe is flexed or bent back which places stress on the plantar fascia. There are several possible factors contributing to the irritation of the plantar fascia: excessive foot pronation; tight calf muscle; tight longitudinal arch structure; poor athletic shoes; stride length (technique); running surfaces.
Treatment:
Follow R.I.C.E. to help reduce pain and inflammation. Once pain has decreased, stretch the plantar fascia by pulling back (hyper-extending) on all the toes with the foot pointed in, out, and straight ahead. Stretch the heel cord or Achilles Tendon and perform toe crunches or other exercises to strengthen the arch (see Ankle for other rehab ideas). Taping the arch using a LowDye technique should be applied. The athlete should wear a good, supportive shoe with a firm arch support.

If heel pain persists, the athlete should be referred to a physician for an x-ray. Sometimes the plantar fascia becomes irritated due to a bone spur on the bottom of the heel.


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