In all sports there is one constant, father time always wins. With age comes decline, decline that occurs even faster when you’re absorbing hits from men larger, stronger, and faster than normal human beings.
During week 10 of the NFL season we saw one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history play what would be the worst game of his career, and could be his last. What took out Peyton Manning in a sport filled with bone breaking, muscle tearing, concussion inducing collisions? Torn plantar fascia band.
Plantar fascia is a band of tissue running across bottom of your feet. Inflammation to this band of tissue causes plantar fasciitis; characterized by heel pain with the first step in the morning, after standing for prolonged periods of time, and pain with activities such as climbing stairs. Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain seen in podiatry. It is also commonly seen in athletes, runners, weekend warriors and among individuals who remain on their feet for extended periods.
Initial treatment of plantar fasciitis can include:
- Immobilizing or supporting the foot to allow it to heal
- Restricting activity
- Anti-inflammatory medications
For persistent pain, it is always a good idea to have it checked out by one of your AFACC podiatrist. Check Up will most likely include X-rays to rule out fractures or any other anomalies. Treatment can include RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), heel injections, custom inserts, strapping of foot, physical therapy and on the rare occasion, surgery, as 90% of patients recover with conservative treatment.
Recovering from plantar fasciitis can take several weeks or more for athletes. Many athletes manage to play through plantar fasciitis by managing their pain symptoms; however, their play on the field often suffers drastically. The inability to plant your foot properly to generate power, force, or accuracy for an athlete is akin to a musician without an instrument. The difficulty for elite athletes with injuries in their lower extremities is the risk of facing a domino effect of injuries. There is the possibility that one localized injury can spread when the athlete begins to overcompensate, while trying to continue performing at an elite level. Thus, a foot issue can lead to a multitude of problems that can hamper performance.
Manning, like all elite athletes, is highly competitive, desires team success, and wants to support his teammates. At this point, maybe the best way to help his team is to stand by them, on the sidelines, watching and waiting until he is healthy, or until his time is up. In a sports culture that preaches toughness, brotherhood, next-man-up and winning; athletes do one thing through all the injuries and pain they accumulate, they endure.