Plantar Fasciitis and Sports Performance

If you have ever had Plantar Fasciitis, then you know how difficult it can be to perform daily task, let alone play a sport that involves running. Today, we are going to break PF pain down, because it may be your weak Glutes causing PF.

What is the Plantar Fascia?

The Plantar Fascia is a broad structure that connects from the heel to the phalanges of the feet that separate in three parts, the medial, central and lateral fascia.

The Function of the Plantar Fascia

The main function of the Plantar Fascia is to help provide stability through the arch of the foot, while helping the gait cycle while in dorsiflexion with a spring like motion.

The other part to the PF is the relationship to the Achilles Tendon. Youth Athletes seem to suffer more injury to the Achilles while going through growth and while having inadequate dorsiflexion of the ankle.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the Plantar Fascia due to several factors, including High Arch, Flat Arch or Falling Arch and now with new research conducted in 2019 we understand that Glute Strength and specifically Hip Abduction exercises improve High Arch Plantars.

(1) "To optimize the management in patient with plantar fasciitis accompanied by apparent high-arch deformity, clinicians should try to identify the hip abductor muscles weakness, and therapists should consider incorporating hip strengthening exercises."

(2) "Since PF is associated with foot posture,[1,3,8,9] strengthening exercises are often recommended to address excessive foot pronation and supination, which can increase the stress on the soft tissue structures and plantar fascia. Recent studies have reported that foot postures such as apparent low-arch foot (pronated) and high-arch foot (supinated) were associated with weakness of the hip abductor muscles."

This evidence also shows why assessments should be a total body approach, and not address the site of pain. Our body is complex as well as the sports we play. Training for a higher jump or a faster sprint time begins with the push into the ground. Misaligned joints, inactive or overactive muscles reduce the amount of Force being applied. Training bad movement and posture only allows for more injury to occur.

Not only will PF become discomforting and sometimes down right painful, it will reduce your ability to change direction on the court or on the field due to the instability of the ankle, causing the big toe to take the load, thus forming the Bunion.

Reducing the amount of PF in seen in the general population as well as athletes and avid runners could simply mean spending an additional 5-10 minutes daily activating the Glutes with a mini band or even some isometric split squats to increase muscle activity prior to running or activity.

Treatment options should include a form of soft tissue work, like IASTM to the calf and Plantar as well as Mobilization exercises to improve Ankle ROM, especially in the Dorsiflexion position.

Strength Training should include hip abduction, isometric stability and ankle exercises to improve the ligament, tendon and musculature of the ankle.

When it comes to increasing strength and power in your sport, biomechanics has a lot to do with increasing these, especially for the running community. Wearing inserts is a temporary fix, a band-aid for the PF. Yes, it helps and we recommend athletes to wear them, until the PF symptoms has decreased and hip strength has increased.

Until next time and stay #groundforcestrong



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