The Sports Doctor: Plantar fasciitis a common basketball injury
One of the more common injuries to basketball players is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is most frequently an acute or semi-acute injury that appears as a strain or partial rupture of the strong ligament which runs along the arch from the heel to the toes.
The plantar fascia is a tough, fibrous band, composed of three slips, that elevates or supports the arch. If the plantar fascia becomes stretched or strained, or in some cases actually torn, the arch area becomes tender and swollen.
There are several possible causes of Plantar fasciitis. One is poor training shoes. They may be worn down on the heel area or may lack rearfoot control and cushioning. Increased training sessions (with sprinting) often contribute to the condition.
However, it is primarily due to the abnormal changes of the foot mechanics, due to excessive inward foot roll and pronation in the full court running.
Early detection and treatment is very important, as this condition can become chronic, and at worst, sideline the athlete. Do not play with pain. If there is sensitivity and tenderness, start with the application of ice massage for ten minutes, followed by moist heat — a hot wash cloth placed in a plastic bag — for five minutes to increase blood supply to the injured area. Treat it this way two or three times a day.
We have had good success (in severe cases) with various types of physical therapy. These include ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation. Also, in conjunction with changing the abnormal foot imbalance and pronation, a foot support, which comprises and conforms to the contour of the sole of the human foot, will be very helpful.
Again, an extremely important and often overlooked factor is that the athlete should change into a proper shoe with good heel and forefoot cushioning, in order to protect the area from additional trauma.