By Loren Colon, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol injured the plantar fascia of his foot while playing the Brooklyn Nets two days ago. He fell to the ground as he felt something pop in his right foot during the game after dealing with a heel pain for several months. A MRI revealed that Pau Gasol has a plantar fascial rupture.
Plantar fasciitis is a medical diagnosis that is evaluated, managed and treated by podiatrists. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia consisting of three bands medial central and lateral. This ligament runs from the calcaneus to the proximal phalanges. The more severe case of plantar fasciitis is a plantar fascia rupture. This involves a tear of the medial, central and/or lateral bands of the plantar aponeurosis.
The treatment protocol for plantar fasciitis includes conservative and surgical treatment options. Initial visit includes taking x-rays, injection therapy, durable medical equipment such as an air heel which acts as a temporary orthotic and a night splint which is essential for stretching of the plantar fascia at night. These conservative treatment modalities generally help achieve complete resolution of pain in the majority of patients.
The treatment protocol for plantar fascia rupture is cast and crutches for about six weeks until the ligament heals, and physical therapy thereafter. However, a small percentage of patients with a severe case of plantar fasciitis or plantar fascia rupture would need a more aggressive treatment option to accelerate healing. This option includes Platelet Rich Plasma injection with possible plantar fasciotomy in cases where there is no rupture. This procedure involves extracting 20-30cc of blood from the patient and centrifuging the blood to extract the platelets from the blood and then injecting the platelets into the plantar fascia. This procedure initiates new collagen development, tendon and ligament regeneration and repair while promoting revascularization to stimulate the healing process. This procedure has a very high success rate for complete resolution of symptoms of recalcitrant plantar fasciitis and the outcome has given my patients a great deal of satisfaction. This procedure may even get a player like Lakers Pau Gasol back onto the court sooner.
If you have suffered a sports injury, call your Atlanta area Podiatrist at American Foot and Leg Specialists.