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Golf & Plantar Fasciitis

 A year ago today Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from The Masters due to his Plantar Fasciitis. This is one of the most common conditions causing heel pain. It involves inflammation of the plantar fascia — a tough, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the sole of the foot. This condition is a leading cause of heel pain, particularly upon taking the first steps in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation in the heel.

Overuse or repetitive stress on the plantar fascia, such as from running, walking long distances, or standing for extended periods, is a common cause. Additionally, factors such as foot mechanics, including flat feet or high arches, abnormal walking patterns, obesity, and wearing shoes with inadequate support, can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Consider the frequent walking done by a pro golfer. On the one hand, they walk a lot! Add to the equation that much of their walking is on uneven and hilly surfaces. About one in ten adults experience Plantar Fasciitis; age is also a significant factor, as the plantar fascia tends to lose elasticity and become more prone to injury with age.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are typically pain and stiffness in the heel or along the bottom of the foot. The pain is often most severe upon waking or after periods of inactivity, gradually improving with movement but worsening again after prolonged activity.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis usually begins with conservative measures aimed at reducing inflammation and relieving pain. This may include rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises targeting the calf muscles and plantar fascia, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Orthotic devices, such as arch supports or heel cups, can help distribute pressure more evenly across the foot and provide support to the plantar fascia. In some cases, night splints may be recommended to keep the plantar fascia stretched while sleeping.

If conservative treatments do not provide sufficient relief, more advanced interventions may be considered. These may include corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation, shock wave therapy to stimulate healing, or physical therapy to improve foot mechanics and strengthen supporting muscles. Surgery is rarely necessary and is typically reserved for cases of severe, chronic plantar fasciitis that do not respond to other treatments.

Overall, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for effectively managing plantar fasciitis and preventing long-term complications. Individuals experiencing persistent heel pain should consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Foot Healers

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