My worlds collided last week as a New York Giants football fan and as a podiatrist living in Sarasota, Florida. I was watching the game when quarterback, Eli Manning pulled up lame after planting his right heel on a play action pass. My first thought was, "I really hope that was not his Achilles tendon." Luckily for me, and Eli and Giants nation, it was not the Achilles tendon but the plantar fascia that was injured. The plantar fascia is a tight band of connective tissue, basically a blending of many tendons, that goes along the bottom of the foot. Many people, as many as 1 in 4 Americans, will suffer from sharp, shooting pains in the bottom of the heel. Often this pain is worse when you get out of bed in the morning or when you stand up after sitting for a period of time.
The most common cause for this is called plantar fasciitis or inflammation of the plantar fascia. In my office in Sarasota I treat this condition every day. None of my patients are professional quarterbacks who have to plant their feet in order to throw footballs, but it is not a fun condition for a lawyer, waitress or hairdresser either. Typically this condition is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, rest, ice, stretching and sometimes a cortisone injection. Taping of the foot or a small foot brace is also used to limit the pain. Long term treatment consists of stretching exercises and use of orthotics, a molded shoe insert that controls foot motion.
Not only do I treat this condition every day, I also suffered from it in my early twenties. I am pain free now due to orthotics and stretching.
I expect to see Eli out on the field on Sunday. First of all because it is amazing what you can do with cortisone, second because the guy just does not quit. Eli has made 82 consecutive starts including the one following a serious shoulder injury. He will start but hopefully the Raiders will allow the Giants to build up a big lead and allow Eli to take a break. I am sure his foot will feel much better if he does.
Committed to your health,
Dr. Craig Conti
Sarasota Foot Care Center