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Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis


Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis

Tactical Athletes Overuse Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis

Athletix Rehab and Recovery is excited to conclude our three-part series about overuse injuries in the military and tactical athlete. If you have not kept up with parts one (knee pain) or two (shin splints) of the series, no worries! We can bring you up to speed. Overuse injuries are any injury to the muscle, tendon, or joint from repetitive stress or trauma, and are very commonly seen in the military and tactical athlete.

Part three of this series will focus on Plantar Fasciitis, it’s possible causes, and how to effectively manage this common but debilitating injury. If you’re struggling with plantar fasciitis, contact our office today to speak with us about your treatment options at Athletix Rehab and Recovery.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Much like the other injuries discussed in this series, plantar fasciitis is associated with a variety of limitations, including decreased ankle range of motion, flat feet, improper shoe fit, elevated BMI, diabetes, and most commonly, a sudden increase in repetitive activities such as walking or running.

With plantar fasciitis, it is common to experience pain in the morning (especially when stepping out of bed) that decreases throughout the day. With imaging, it is common to see inflammation on the thick band of plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot and, in some cases, a heel spur can be seen. 

Symptoms associated with Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Pain in the morning upon first couple steps, described as stepping on a pin or nail
  • Sharp or stabbing pain that is worse when moving after prolonged periods of inactivity and aggravated by barefoot walking or stairs
  • Pinpoint tenderness to the bottom of the heel
  • Weakness in the muscles of the lower leg such as the soleus, gastrocnemius or posterior tibialis
  • Tightness in the lower legs and calf musculature
  • Poor running mechanics
  • Poor hip, knee, or ankle mobility

It is important to examine underlying imbalances associated with plantar fasciitis. Your therapist can conduct a thorough gait analysis, assessment of the range of motion and strength, balance tests, and footwear assessment to direct a plan of care.

Typically, people sleep in a position with the ankle in full plantar flexion (a position which shortens this irritated tissue). A dorsiflexion night splint can provide a low load, long-duration stretch to alleviate morning heel pain.

Myths About Plantar Fasciitis:

  1. There is a pain in the bottom of the foot during or after exercise, so it must be plantar fasciitis.

False. Other injuries need to be ruled out by a movement specialist such as Plantar nerve irritation, Achilles tendonitis, heel contusion, retrocalcaneal bursitis, Sever’s disease, and calcaneal stress fracture. Physical therapists are movement specialists that are trained to evaluate movement disorders as well as rule out other diseases.

  1. Plantar Fasciitis is incurable.

False. While this injury may seem like it can drag on for months, there are many ways to manage the pain and fix the underlying problems to return to pain-free sport or activity. Plantar fasciitis often sticks around for prolonged periods because the exact cause is never determined. Seek a physical therapist to help you identify the underlying limitations that can be related to your injury

  1. Plantar Fasciitis is genetic.

False. While many causes of plantar fasciitis may be genetic such as flat feet, no current research shows that this injury is hereditary. It is important to decrease your risk of developing plantar fasciitis by avoiding other contributing factors by maintaining a healthy BMI, practicing correct load management skills, proper strengthening, and stretching.

Contact Us Today 

Here at Athletix Rehab & Recovery, we make it our top priority to see our patients through to the end of their treatment. We want to ensure that you are educated about your condition and understand that our therapists are here to help you every step of the way to recovery. 

Contact us today to learn more about your treatment options for plantar fasciitis, and don’t forget to check out parts one and two of Athletix’s overuse injuries in tactical athletes series if you missed them!

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