Football players are among the athletes often afflicted with plantar fasciitis before the start of the season or in its early stages. This painful inflammatory condition affects the foot and athletes often develop it when their training sessions become more intense. So what exactly is plantar fasciitis, what causes it and how is it treated? SportMedBC, the Canadian sports medicine information network, has provided the answer to these questions in a special article for The Province website.
The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. When that tissue gets inflamed, the result is plantar fasciitis. The condition is characterised by pain in the front of the heel but can also manifest itself as pain along the foot arch.
One of several factors can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis. As mentioned above, athletes may start suffering from it when their training rapidly intensifies or the sessions get longer. In fact, recreational athletes run the same risk if their activities suddenly increase in intensity and duration. Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by footwear with little or no arch support. Other contributing factors are intrinsic weakness of the foot muscles, calf muscle tightness and prolonged periods of standing. Obese people are also at risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
It is very important for athletes with plantar fasciitis to consult a sports medicine specialist and get in touch with an experienced therapist. This will ensure that the cause is properly identified and the treatment accurately chosen. Otherwise, athletes may not be able to resume their sporting activities promptly and safely.
As for treatment, there are several options. Rest is very important, as are foot muscle strengthening exercises. The pain can also be relieved by proper footwear, while cold therapy helps reduce the inflammation.