Overcoming Plantar Fasciitis Irritation During PickleballJun 25, 2023
Plantar fasciitis is a common injury that affects pickleball players of all ages and abilities. This pain and discomfort can be debilitating, and feeling discouraged is understandable. It can be frustrating to deal with heel pain and not be able to play pickleball.
Thankfully, plantar fasciitis is usually treatable. This article outlines how pickleball players can manage plantar fasciitis to keep them playing at a high level on the court.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes irritated and inflamed. The plantar fascia is a strong fibrous band of tissue that runs across the bottom of each foot, connecting the heel bone with the toes, supporting the arch of the foot.
Common Signs of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is typically diagnosed based on the patient's symptoms and a physical examination. Here are some signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis for pickleball players to know:
- Pain: The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the foot, typically near the heel. The pain is usually described as a sharp, stabbing sensation that is worse in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
- Tenderness: The area around the heel may be tender to the touch.
- Stiffness: The foot may feel stiff, particularly in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
- Swelling: The foot may be swollen or inflamed.
- Difficulty Walking: Some people may experience difficulty walking or limping due to the pain.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, don't give up hope. There are ways to manage and treat plantar fasciitis; with the right approach, you can return to playing pickleball.
First, it's essential to understand proper healing and loading time is crucial for recovery. Pushing through the pain can make things worse and prolong the healing process. Modify movements that cause your symptoms, which may include scaling back the volume of running or high-impact movements such as jumping or sprinting.
Maintaining Your Fitness
In the meantime, there are ways to scale the exercises and activities you can still do to stay active and maintain your fitness level.
Address the Root Cause
It's also important to address the root cause of your plantar fasciitis. There are many reasons that can contribute to the condition.
How do we look at it?
- Technique with exercises/movements
- Nerve movement
- Tests of joints
- Toe range of motion
- Ankle Range of motion
- Hip Range of motion
- Test of muscle stiffness/strength
- Stiff calves, muscles around the shin and foot can all contribute to joints not moving well
Choosing The Right Shoes
The best shoes for pickleball are either court shoes or tennis shoes. Ideally, these shoes have great comfort, ankle support, rubber soles, and a tread pattern for quick lateral movements involved with pickleball.
A traditional walking or running shoe is not recommended for those susceptible to plantar fasciitis, because they do not support your foot moving in lateral movements. As a result, you may roll an ankle.
Improve range of motion
You may relieve plantar fasciitis pain with exercises that stretch the calves and plantar fascia.
These exercises help to improve and maintain the joint range of motion and flexibility of the muscles.
- Ankle Pumps
- Toe Raise, Point, and Curl
- The Towel Curl Exercise
- Big Toe Stretch
Warming up before participating in any physical activity is encouraged. Certain stretches and exercises can be done to avoid plantar fasciitis when playing pickleball.
Increase volume accordingly
To avoid a plantar fasciitis injury, it's important to monitor your volume. You may love playing pickleball and want to play frequently, but you should monitor how many hours you play. Overusing the plantar fascia during a repetitive high-impact activity like pickleball can factor into pain or discomfort.
Closing Out: Plantar Fasciitis and Pickleball
Remember, plantar fasciitis may be a setback, but it doesn't have to be permanent. In most cases, it is very treatable, and with the right approach and mindset, you can overcome this obstacle and get back to playing pickleball.
If you are dealing with lingering plantar fasciitis that just won't go away, the experienced Las Vegas physical therapists at White Wong PT can help. Contact us to get started with PT and get back on the pickleball court.
Looking for ways to maximize your recovery?