Foot Care and Sports

Plantar Fasciitis and Sports
The plantar fascia is a supportive, fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is a pain caused by frequent stress on the plantar aspect (bottom) of the foot. This condition is prevalent among active and athletic adults. If the condition persists, heel spurs may eventually form upon the bottom of the heel bone, and make the condition worse. Common causes of plantar fasciitis include muscle weakness, tightness, improper shoes, increased body weight, aging and strenuous activity.

In strenuous activities such as basketball, volleyball, jogging and aerobics, extreme force is often applied to the feet. Injuries such as plantar fasciitis begin to occur when proper equipment and preparation are ignored. Doctors of podiatry recommend warm-ups, stretching and weight lifting as a means to minimize the potential for chronic injuries. Proper shoes designed for the specific activity also contribute to injury prevention.

Orthotic devices are often used to accommodate the physical demands of a sport. Depending on the activity and the person performing it, these devices are manufactured with various degrees of rigidity, cushion and support. They can also correct a deformity that needs special attention. Should an accident or painful injury occur, the best course of action is to seek medical attention. For an acute injury, elevate the foot and apply a cold compress to alleviate the pain while you contact your family physician or podiatrist.

Foot Care and Diabetes
Approximately 15 percent of people who have diabetes will develop an open foot sore (ulceration) at some point during their lives. People with diabetes should have their feet checked at least twice a year for reduced blood flow and sensation or deformity. Diabetics are prone to a narrowing of the arteries to the legs, which causes poor blood flow to the feet. As a result, diabetics frequently experience joint stiffness that may lead to uneven weight distribution and foot ulcerations.

Orthotic devices can offer support and relief from diabetic foot symptoms. The custom-made devices provide total foot contact with materials chosen specifically for the diabetic condition. They are manufactured to disperse weight as evenly as possible throughout the foot and reduce pressure from ulcer-prone areas.