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Painful Plantar Fasciitis – Tiger Woods’ ‘Achilles Heel’

Have you ever experienced a feeling where it feels like you may be walking on shards of glass?

This may be plantar fasciitis, a common condition which can present as a stabbing pain in your heel. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot which connects the heel bones to the toes. This ligament is crucial to support the arch of the foot and is essential to walk appropriately.

This injury has come to light as Tiger Woods had to temporarily withdraw from the 2023 Masters’ Tournament due to this issue.

Let’s delve into the causes of plantar fasciitis:

Overuse and Microtears:

Plantar fasciitis often arises from overuse or repetitive strain on the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot. This overuse can lead to tiny tears in the fascia, especially in situations where the intensity or duration of physical activities increases suddenly.

Biomechanical Issues:

Flat Feet (Pes Planus): Individuals with flat feet have a lower or collapsed arch, leading to increased stress on the plantar fascia. This altered foot structure can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

High Arches (Pes Cavus): Conversely, those with high arches may also be at risk. High arches can result in excessive tension on the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and pain.

Improper Footwear:

Wearing shoes with inadequate support or poor cushioning can be a significant factor in the development of plantar fasciitis. Shoes that lack arch support fail to absorb shock properly, putting additional stress on the plantar fascia.

Age and Weight:

Plantar fasciitis is more common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60. As we age, the plantar fascia loses elasticity and may become more susceptible to injury. Additionally, excess body weight can contribute to increased strain on the feet and exacerbate the condition.

Occupational Factors:

Certain occupations that involve prolonged periods of standing or walking on hard surfaces, such as teachers, factory workers, and healthcare professionals, may be more prone to developing plantar fasciitis due to the constant stress on the feet.

Tight Achilles Tendon (Achilles Tendinopathy):

A tight Achilles tendon can alter the biomechanics of the foot, affecting the way weight is distributed. This can increase strain on the plantar fascia, potentially leading to inflammation and pain.

Exercise Choices:

Sudden changes in physical activity levels or engaging in activities that place repetitive stress on the feet, such as running or ballet, can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

Structural Anomalies:

Certain structural anomalies, such as leg length discrepancies, can result in uneven weight distribution on the feet, potentially leading to plantar fasciitis in one foot more than the other.

So, what can we do to help you?

Understanding these causes is crucial for both prevention and effective management of plantar fasciitis. Individuals who are at a higher risk, such as those with flat feet or a history of overuse injuries, should pay particular attention to foot care and seek professional advice from Goodall Healthcare Group’s highly experience professionals. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight, wearing appropriate footwear, and incorporating gradual changes in physical activity can all contribute to reducing the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

At Goodall Healthcare Group, our MSK services are designed to make the recovery process efficient and fit your lifestyle.

The mainstay of treatment is with manual therapy, adjunct to shockwave therapy and exercise prescription.

Examples of exercises include:

  • Calf strengthening
  • Marble pickups, toe tapping (with small objects)
  • Arch rolls with tennis balls.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to managing plantar fasciitis through exercise.

Don’t hesitate, contact GHG today. Our MSK services encompass a broader range of specialisms including sports and exercise medicine – a medical speciality that deals with a wide range of sports related injuries to provide advice on exercise prescription and performance optimisation. We also use a combination of osteopathic and physical therapy to provide our service users with an experience that is a cut above standard rehabilitation.

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