03 Apr PHYSIO FRIDAY – Prepping for winter sports
As you get ready for “Winter RUNNING Sports” we thought we might review some of the injuries that can occur with overload and too much too soon.
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
• Heel pain with first steps in the morning or after long periods of non-weight bearing
• Tenderness to the anterior medial heel
• Limited dorsiflexion and tight Achilles tendon
• A limp may be present or may have a preference to toe walking
• Pain is usually worse when barefoot on hard surfaces and with stair climbing (this can often have been exacerbated throughout the Aussie Summer in things and bare feet on the beach)
• Many patients may have had a sudden increase in their activity level prior to the onset of symptoms.
• Maintaining a healthy weight to minimise the stress on the plantar fascia.
• Choosing supportive shoes. Avoiding stiletto heels and shoes with excessively low heels. Buying shoes with a low to moderate heel, good arch support and absorption. Not going barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.
• Not wearing worn-out runners. Replacing old runners before they stop supporting and cushioning the feet. If a sport involves a lot of running, replacing shoes after about 650 kilometres of use.
• Starting activity slowly. Warming up before starting any activity or sport, and starting a new exercise program slowly.
• Undertaking training prior to competition to ensure readiness to play.
• Allowing adequate recovery time between workouts or training sessions.
• Checking the sporting environment for hazards.
• Drinking water before, during and after play.
• Avoiding activities that cause pain.
How can physio help?
Physiotherapy. A physiotherapist can give instruction on a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and to strengthen lower leg muscles, which stabilises the ankle and heel. A physiotherapist may also instruct how to apply athletic taping to support the bottom of the foot.
Hands-on – releasing any tight structures – esp in the early phases may occur depending on what stage your Plantar Fascia is at.These are often long and frustrating injuries esp if the correct management isn’t put in place early!