The running athlete, such as a soccer player, is at risk for developing plantar fasciitis, or inflammation and pain at the bottom of the foot. Treating this condition could be complex where competitive athletes may be reluctant to take time to rest and allow for proper healing.
Plantar Fasciitis is typically associated with "flat feet", poor arch support and/or poor fitting shoes combined with continuous running and sport specific training. The athlete's initial complaints usually relate to discomfort with specific shoe wear and increased foot pain with standing and walking in the morning. It is at this time early treatment is important in order to prevent too much time off of the field!
Initial treatment includes decreasing inflammation throughout the plantar fascia through the RICE protocol utilizing specific icing techniques. Following reduction of the inflammation, a stretching program should be initiated in order to regain the flexibility of the connective tissue. Physical Therapists or Athletic Trainers may utilize various modalities, massage and stretching techniques in order to speed up the healing process.
The last goal is to administer exercises aimed at strengthening the bottom of the foot and up the kinetic chain progressing to soccer specific activities. Because Plantar Fasciitis can be a lengthy recover, early recognition or even better, knowledge of prevention, could minimize an athlete's time off of the field!