When you think of injuries during sports, people commonly think of conditions such as ankle sprains and ACL tears. However, there’s one type of injury that often affects athletes that is more common than people realize.
Behind closed doors, many athletes suffer from plantar fasciitis. This includes notable athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Pete Sampras.
What is plantar fasciitis?
In your foot, there’s a fibrous piece of tissue known as the plantar fascia that goes between the heel to the toes. When this band of tissue becomes inflamed, it causes pain in the foot. The condition is therefore called plantar fasciitis. It can occur in all types of patients, which is why it’s not known as a “sports injury”. Since an athlete is naturally more active, he or she may stress the areas around the foot and lead to inflammation.
Here are two forms of pain relief that we recommend at BetterBraces (and you’ll want to check in with your doctor to make sure these forms of treatment are appropriate for your situation):
- Wear a brace for plantar fasciitis when participating in sports. This can help reduce the stress on the foot and may relieve or prevent pain so you can keep playing.
- Wear a plantar fasciitis night splint when you sleep. Plantar fasciitis night splints help with pain by keeping the plantar fascia stretched out overnight. (Typically the worst pain from plantar fasciitis occurs in the morning after waking up… night splints can help relieve this pain.)
If you’re experiencing foot pain after sports, you may want to check in with your doctor to see if it could be plantar fasciitis!
When Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers tore his plantar fascia last year, sports enthusiasts questioned whether his career had reached its peak. Even after the tear healed, he was plagued by reoccurring plantar fasciitis all through the 2010-2011 season and through the start of this year.
It’s clear that Antonio Gates is coming out of his shell again, despite the Chargers’ 45-38 loss against the Packers. He received 8 passes for 96 yards and scored a touchdown in Sunday’s game. There was no indication that he was letting his plantar fasciitis bother him at all.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, here are some things you can do to help treat and minimize the pain:
- Rest and ice the area and stop performing the activities that cause pain.
- Use anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin to reduce pain and swelling.
- Wear a foot brace during the day, such as the Aircast Airheel which supports the bottom of the foot and enhances circulation.
- Wear a plantar fasciitis night splint during the night, which helps stretch the plantar fascia while you sleep and reduces pain in the morning. (Note, you can also get a plantar fasciitis kit which contains both the Airheel and Aircast Dorsal Night Splint.)
- If your doctor recommends it, go to physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the plantar fascia.
It looks like the rest and rehabilitation that Antonio Gates has been putting toward his foot is finally starting to pay off. Check with your doctor for the appropriate treatment for your condition, and don’t let plantar fasciitis hold you back from doing the activities that you enjoy!
A few days ago we posted about plantar fasciitis, a condition that can cause pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel. One of the interesting things about this condition is that the pain is often worse in the morning. During sleep, the plantar fascia tightens up. When the patient steps out of bed in the morning, the pressure of body weight on this tightened ligament can make the pain particularly acute. Most of the time pain will decrease as the tissue warms up, though it can return if the ligament is overworked.
Luckily, there are a number of different plantar fasciitis night splints that help alleviate the pain that patients feel in the morning. These night splints help stretch the plantar fascia to promote healing while you sleep.
Here are some recommended plantar fasciitis night splints:
P.S. These night splints can also help with Achilles tendonitis!