Plantar Fascia Tear

The Los Angeles Lakers took a big hit this week as their star center/forward Pau Gasol injured his foot when playing the Brooklyn Nets. Pau Gasol underwent an MRI Wednesday in Boston for his injured right foot and it was revealed he suffered a partial tear of the plantar fascia and is expected to miss at least six weeks.

The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball of the foot and even has slips that go into the toes. The main job of the plantar fascia is to hold the arch up.

Many people are familiar with the plantar fascia due to a disorder called plantar fasciitis, the number one cause of heel pain. In most people the plantar fascia becomes inflamed due to flattening of the arch and thickening of the plantar fascia. As the arch falls, small stress tears occur in the plantar fascia which causes the inflammation.

In much less common cases the plantar fascia can actually tear/rupture. The tear of the plantar fascia is often accompanied by a ‘pop’, followed by severe heel pain. Like most other orthopedic injuries the question becomes, should this be fixed surgically or conservatively.

The conservative treatment includes 2 to 4 weeks of immobilization followed by another 2 to 4 weeks of physical therapy. The surgical option is repair of the ligament through an open large incision or small (minimal) incision technique.

The best course of action for most nonprofessional athletes is conservative treatment. However, surgical intervention can provide a better outcome for a professional athlete that is going to put a significant amount of strain on his feet throughout his career.

Heel pain can be a difficult disorder that causes chronic pain. If you begin to have heel pain you should come to our office for an exam. There are many treatment modalities that may be used to resolve your pain and get you back to your normal activities.