Recently, Tiger Woods withdrew from the Hero World Challenge due to plantar fasciitis. This condition is a common cause of heel pain for athletes—but it doesn’t have to sideline you for good. Today, we’re breaking down what plantar fasciitis is and what treatment options are available so that you don’t have to miss out on your favorite sport.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes (also called the plantar fascia). It usually causes sharp pain at the bottom of your foot or heel, especially when you first get out of bed in the morning. The pain can also worsen after sitting or standing for a long time. Other causes of heel pain include Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, or stress fractures.
Common Treatment Options
Some common treatments for plantar fasciitis include rest, stretching exercises, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP), radial shockwave therapy (RST), and surgery. Stretching exercises can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet and leg to reduce tension in the affected area. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can reduce pain and swelling in your foot but should be used with caution since they may cause stomach ulcers if taken for too long. Corticosteroid injections into the affected area can also reduce inflammation and relieve pain in some cases; however, these should only be used sparingly since overuse may weaken tissues in the affected area. PRP injections use concentrated platelets from a person’s blood to stimulate healing in injured tissues; RST uses sound waves to break up scar tissue that has formed around an injury site.
In some cases where other treatments have failed, surgery may be recommended as a treatment option for plantar fasciitis. Gastrocnemius recession surgery involves cutting part of the calf muscle near where it attaches to the Achilles tendon to reduce tension on the tendon and relieve pressure on the inflamed area of tissue. A plantar fasciotomy involves cutting part of the fascia to relieve tension on it; however, this procedure carries a risk of causing nerve damage or creating scarring that could make future treatments more difficult or ineffective.
Periods of rest can help plantar fasciitis
Tiger Woods’ advice to ‘get off your feet, which he has done and continues to do,’ rings true for many athletes. It is especially important to take breaks during especially strenuous physical activity, such as golfing or running. Tiger’s routine of getting off his feet and sleeping with a boot to stretch the fascia out is an excellent injury recovery regimen that can help keep athletes healthy and avoid potential injuries. Taking time in between training sessions allows the body time to rest and muscles to fully recover, keeping Tiger back on top of his game every day!
Tiger Woods’ struggles with plantar fasciitis have brought heightened attention to the condition among athletes and medical professionals. While there may not be empirical evidence to suggest that professional sports are more prone to it, anecdotal accounts certainly indicate increased incidences of plantar fasciitis in both pros and amateur-level competitors. With more athletes discussing their own experiences with it, Tiger Woods and his team have spurred greater awareness and developments in understanding, prevention, and treatment so future athletes can more safely compete.
What about regenerative medicine instead of surgery
Tiger Woods recently faced a difficult decision when presented with his diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. Instead of opting for surgery, he chose conservative treatment to treat this condition. For chronic cases of plantar fasciitis, regenerative medicine can also be considered an extremely effective non-surgical option. The goal is to promote healing without the need for surgical intervention. While it will take time for Tiger Woods’ injury to heal, especially with an ultra-conservative approach of rest, regenerative medicine can be a more preferred option that could have allowed him an expedited recovery and also avoided invasive procedures. Two examples of regenerative medicine include radial shockwave treatment and platelet-rich plasma injections.
While plantar fasciitis can be quite painful and frustrating, there are many treatment options available so that athletes can get back out there doing what they love without having to worry about their heels hurting every step they take! Resting your feet often throughout each day, stretching regularly, and using NSAIDs sparingly can help alleviate some symptoms associated with this condition while more aggressive treatments such as corticosteroid injections or surgical procedures may be necessary if other methods have failed or if symptoms persist despite lifestyle changes being made. With proper care and treatment, you don’t have to let this condition stop you from achieving greatness!