After a number of games since the injury, the North Carolina Tarheels Marcus Paige has made quite the impact for the Heels despite him battling plantar fasciitis.

Starting from the game in which was to honor legendary ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott, an alumnae of the University of Chapel Hill, the Heels lost the game by one point against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (70-71 L). What seemed to be just a lingering foot injury for junior guard Marcus Paige, the injury worsened into plantar fasciitis. Paige having an average of 32 minutes of play time and 15 points a game, he can easily be defined as the top shooters for the Tarheels. With six straight wins against the Louisville Cardinals (72-71 W), North Carolina State (81-79 W), Virginia Tech (68-53 W), Wake Forest (87-71 W), Florida State (78-74 W), and Syracuse (93-83 W), Coach Roy Williams and company were off to play their next road game once again versus Coach Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals with a confident attitude and in high spirits that Paige would be playing a phenomenal game for their next win.

The game started out with a teeth-clenching tie, keeping both teams on their feet and playing great basketball. As the first half was coming to a close, the Heels took the lead making the halftime score (36-25 UNC). The second half began just as strong has the first half ended, with the Heels having an 18-point lead. Multiple fouls and Paige’s injury started to shake up the Heels getting Louisville extra baskets and ultimately tying the game back up. With a clear limping Paige and multiple Heel players in foul trouble, the Heels lost the game (68-78) in overtime.

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Marcus Paige and his battle with plantar fasciitis was not the reason for the Heels to lose the game, but in turn did hurt the Heels during a critical time.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a ligament-like band running from your heel to the ball of your foot. This band pulls on the heel bone, raising the arch of your foot as it pushes off the ground. If your foot moves incorrectly, the plantar fascia band may become strained allowing it to swell and its tiny fibers to fray, causing plantar fasciitis.

plantar fasciitis

Causes: 

Plantar fasciitis is often caused by poor foot mechanics. If your foot flattens too much, the fascia may overstretch and swell. If your foot flattens too little, the fascia may ache from being pulled too tight.

Symptoms:

With plantar fasciitis, the bottom of your foot may hurt when you stand, especially first thing in the morning. Pain usually occurs on the inside of the foot, near the spot where your heel and arch meet. Pain may lessen after a few steps, but it comes back after rest or with prolonged movement.

Related Problems:

A heel spur is extra bone that may grow near the spot where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. The heel spur may form in response to the plantar fascia’s tug on the heel bone. Bursitis is the swelling of a bursa, a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between a ligament and a bone. Bursitis may develop if a swollen plantar fascia presses against a plantar bursa.

Physical Exam:

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and feel for any damaged ligaments, inflamed tendons, and displaced bones or joints. Your doctor will watch you walk to see if your symptoms are caused by incorrect foot movement. X-rays will be taken to rule out a stress fracture of the heel bone and to check for the presence of a heel spur.

Treatments:

Treatments depend on the severity of symptoms but there are three areas of concern- mild, moderate, and severe.

Nonsurgical Method:

  • To relieve mild symptoms, try aspirin, ibuprofen, other medications as directed. Rubbing ice on the affected area may also help.
  • To reduce severe pain and swelling, your doctor may prescribe pills or injections. Physical therapy, such as ultrasound or stretching exercises, may also be recommended.
  • To reduce symptoms caused by poor foot mechanics, your foot may be taped. This supports the arch and temporarily controls movement. Night splints may also help by stretching the fascia.

Control Movement:

If taping helps, your doctor may prescribe orthoses. Built from plaster casts of your feet, these inserts control the way your foot moves. As a result, your symptoms should go away.

Treating inflammation is important and can be a combination of oral medication, steriod injections and laser treatment.

  • Oral anti-inflammatory prescription medication for 6-8 weeks is helpful to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Cortisone injections around the plantar fascia attachment to the heel bone speeds the anti-inflammatory treatment particularly when followed with oral medication. e
  • A new treatment to help resolve the pain and inflammation is the MLS lase which is used on muscles, tendons and joints to speed the recovery process.

Mechanical stress reduction of the plantar fascia is important to support the strain of the arch. Taping, temporary insoles and permanent orthotics that are custom made from the contours of one’s foot is the long-term treatment of choice to resolve the discomfort more permanently.

Stretching exercises, the use of a night splint which helps with morning pain, and possible physical therapy referral are other options.

Advanced treatment for resistant cases may include PRP injections which uses your own body’s platelets to help healing, stem cell injection from dehydrated amniotic cells, or a radio-frequency ablation of the fascia called the Topaz treatment are all options for difficult cases not responding to the typical conservative treatments.

Surgical Method:

Your doctor may consider surgery if other types of treatment don’t control the pain. During surgery, the plantar fascia is partially cut to release tension. As you heal, fibrous tissue fills the space between the heel bone and the plantar fascia. You can reduce the strain on the plantar fascia and possibility of overuse by losing any excess weight, avoiding to run on hard or uneven ground, and wearing shoes or house slippers that support your arch. Surgery to release the plantar fascia is a last resort treatment for those still not responding to the treatments discussed above. It is still an option but rarely needed.

For more questions or concerns, contact us!