If you’re a Mets fan, you are probably quite happy with the start of this baseball season. You may have also seen that outfielder Jay Bruce missed a couple of games due to a chronic foot issue that he is dealing with: plantar fasciitis. Bruce emphasized that he wanted to rest the foot and give the injury some healing time rather than keep pushing it and wind up with a more serious, long-term disability. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we were quite pleased to see his response in dealing with this podiatric disorder. His approach is one that many patients can benefit from.
What’s Aggravating the Plantar Fascia
The plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that stretches along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. When it gets inflamed, the result is heel pain which can be excruciating at times. This is known as plantar fasciitis. The most common reason for inflammation of the plantar fascia has to do with a defect in the structure of the foot. Arch issues—either too high or too low (flatfeet) - result in abnormal pressure on the heel area and cause pain. People who are on their feet for their jobs and spend long hours on hard surfaces have an increased risk of developing this condition. That’s why Bruce and other professional athletes are more prone to it. But amateur athletes and others who have arch issues and are on their feet a lot are also susceptible.
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury, and that’s why Bruce’s instinct to rest the foot is a good one. He also follows his podiatrist’s instructions regarding other treatment methods. Some possible choices include:
- Following a stretching regimen daily and particularly before and after sports
- Using a custom orthotic device in your shoes to compensate for arch issues
- Night splints to keep the plantar fascia stretched while you sleep (some patients report that pain is most excruciating when they first step out of bed in the morning and that’s because the plantar fascia can tighten overnight)
- Physical therapy
- Padding, strapping or taping to relieve foot pain and pressure on the heel
If you have pain in your heel, take a tip from Jay Bruce and take care of it promptly to prevent a major problem from developing. Contact our Valley Stream or Lake Success office by calling: (516) 825-4070 or (516) 327-0074 so that one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko, can evaluate your pain and prescribe the appropriate treatment to get you back in the game as soon as possible.