Plantar Fasciitis in Football Players

Plantar Fasciitis in Football Players

Plantar Fasciitis in Football Players

Plantar Fasciitis, or inflammation of the plantar fascia, accounts for 5-10% of all athletic injuries. This can also present itself as heel pain. This can occur in football due to jumping, sprinting and sudden starts and stops, which can produce high amounts of stress or strain on the lower leg and foot. If this overuse occurs over a long period of time, it can result in small tearing in the plantar fascia and chronic inflammation. This then leads to further damage of the ligament.

A lot of athletes experience heel pain. Heel pain does not necessarily mean plantar fasciitis. It is important that when there are early symptoms, to seek professional advice from a podiatrist. There are other common conditions that may be contributing to the heel pain. A detailed history of the pain, location, when the pain occurs (off season or during season), as well as tests or diagnostic imaging, can help determine the condition and the more accurate way to treat it.

Not all athletes develop heel pain. There a several risk factors that increase the risk of an athlete developing heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Some of these factors are:

  • Previous injuries to the leg and feet. These can lead to imbalances in the joints and muscles, which can cause strain on the plantar fascia.
  • Foot posture, either flat feet or very high arches.
  • Wearing football cleats that are worn out.
  • Rapidly increasing intensity or distance in running.
  • Wearing football shoes that are not supportive.

Treating plantar fasciitis can sometimes prove challenging. This inflammatory condition, especially if not addressed in the acute stage, can be slow to heal. In athletes the repetitive impact on the plantar fascia and the fact that the athlete does not stop the aggravating activity, can delay the healing.

Early diagnosis and treatment is therefore important in order to keep the athlete moving and to prevent further damage to the area. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) has shown to reduce acute symptoms of heel pain. Orthotic therapy to support and readjust the foot posture, as well as stretches to help strengthen the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles, can help manage the symptoms long-term to prevent further damage. Shockwave therapy can help improve inflammation of the plantar fascia by increasing blood flow to the area, which supports healing.

Keeping an eye out for early signs of inflammation and seeking medical advice early, will keep your plantar fascia strong and prevent future debilitating conditions.