Tennis and Plantar Fasciitis

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I am a 57 year old tennis player with what I think is Plantar Fasciitis.  I like to know if anyone can back me up on if this seems correct in self diagnosis and if what I am doing just fix my problem or not.  The pain is from the middle of my foot back to my heel.  It's worse in right foot than left. I have bad pain when I initially get up from sitting for a couple of hours or more and really bad pain if I try to play a tennis match, then sit for even 20 minutes and try to walk.  If I rest it for a few days, it's mostly ok during a match.  It's slowly gotten worse over the last year to the point where I can barely walk after a match.  I recently (last week) bought a Futuro Sleep boot for both feet, a foot massager, and some foot pads.  Any ideas how long this takes to heal?  Should I stop playing tennis for awhile.  I'm also doing stretching exercises. Any help would be deeply appreciated.    

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  • Posted

    Not sure you can self diagnose this. Have you been to foot cinic? I would ask for a referral. Problem is it could be that but could equally be a joint problem. Would want to have a proper diagnosis before doing any kind of self treatment.
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  • Posted

    I too self-diagnosed after consulting Dr Google and then had it confirmed by my doctor.  I understand it usually is brought on by a period of strenuous activity, is more severe first thing in the morning and after prolonged non-activity, i.e., sitting.  I followed my doctor's advice:  rest, calf-stretching exercises (about 25 minutes twice a day), new arch supportive and heel cushioned running shoes and insoles even in my slippers, never walking in bare feet, and taking ibuprofen 3 times a day.  To my astonishment, I am now back to normal after 10 weeks, which I understand is pretty quick recovery for this condition.  I will continue with the insoles and serious shoes, but have ditched the exercises.  I think it can come back and I've only been better for a week, so time will tell.  Best of luck with this - it's really awful. 

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  • Posted

    Layne, I am a retired physician and plantar fasciitis patient.  I got plantar fasciitis around February 2016.  After about four months, it completely resolved. 

    Here's what I think.  Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone, and/or some minimal tearing of the plantar fascia - just a few fibers - that results, naturally, in inflammation . . .   like a "pulled muscle."   Inflammation hurts until it heals and resolves.  So what's so difficult about curing P.F.?  Well we walk on it!!!  Let's say we take 5000 steps a day.  Imagine inflammation of your elbow, (i.e. tennis elbow).  Imagine taking your sore "tennis elbow" and wacking it against the wall, 5000 times a day.  Think it would heal quickly?  I don't either.

    So my cure for plantar fasciitis is cushion, cushion and cushion!!!  That's right - cushion the heel.  Here's what I did.  First, I wore the plantar fasciitis "relief bridge" gel-heel innersole in my shoes - that I got at Walgreen's for about $11.  Make sure your innersoles are soft and preferably made of gel.  (I plan to use mine indefinitely in my shoes.)  Then I wore a pair (usually) of nice thickish sox.  On my heel I wore fasciitis therapy wrap padded supports that I got on the internet for about $13.  (I don't wear them any more.)  So when I had my PF, under my heels I had 3 cushion layers.  I wore this about 24 hours a day - except when in the shower or swimming.  And after about 4 months, the PF was totally gone.  And I would suggest to you, have patience, not surgery.

    Layne, that's what I think.  I hope this helps you and the many other sufferers of plantar fasciitis.  Good Luck to you, doknabox/JerryR

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  • Posted

    Thank You Jerry and Tracy.  I just started wearing the boots at night.  It was awkward at first, but my first step out of bed feels very normal now.  I stayed on my feet some 6 hours yesterday and that only hurt after I got home and sat for a bit, then tried to get up.  I am going to get some of the gel inserts and the therapy wrap.  The extra socks seem easy enough as well.  I used to think people were just complaining about this condition for a tiny bit of discomfort, but not any more.  I stopped playing tennis lately, but while I was still playing, I would come home and would barely make it into the house.  Would you all recommend avoiding things like hiking or prolonged standing as well.  Thanks again.
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  • Posted

    Hi Layne,  Do what Jerry suggests and rest for a couple of weeks just walking, no running and certainly no tennis. Sounds like you have strained the PF rather than just having tight calf muscles due to old age, sorry to say,we are not so flexable after 50 so do not bounce back so quick. Pf is normally a stabbing pain in the heel and is worse in the morning because the calf muscles tighten in the night so need stretching which is where the stretching exercises help but its rest that is needed in  your case before trying the stretching. Hopefully you will be back playing tennis in a month of two. 
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  • Posted

    Thanks so much for your responses.  I have been able to implement much of them.  The night boots are working as my first steps from the bed are far less uncomfortable.  I have some questions.  I bought a fitbit months back so I could monitor and increase my steps during the course of my day by waking more.  Should I cut back on my walking?  I also thought riding a stationary bike would help me lose some weight.  I am only 35 pounds overweight, but I know this contributes to my condition.  Should I not ride the bike.  I need to be more active, so any suggestions on things I can do while recovering?  
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  • Posted

    Cycling should be fine as there should be no weight on the heel as long as the strain has healed as you could be stretching the pf and calf muscles so they need to be sound not torn. Swimming is always a good exercise and I do enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving all great for the calf muscles. I also enjoy skiing just booked a week in Tignes and because the boots are moulded to support the whole sole and the foot is clamped in them the pf gives me no trouble its just everything else that hurts until I get my ski legs back.
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  • Posted

    I am a tennis pro and I work out myself on the court several times per week.  I have had PF 4 times.  The last time wasn't very severe but I decided my only way of working out was to swim. Since I can't swim well, I just do the backstroke.  I found out that 15 minutes of backstroke relieved my PF almost completely.

    Last week I got my 4th bout of PF.  It was bad.  I had to use a scooter to get around the house or crawl to the bathroom at night.  Extreme pain.  Yesterday I did the backstroke for 20 minutes and I walked normally to the bathroom last night and walked with almost zero pain today.  Miracle for me!  I had to pass that on.  Definitely try it.

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  • Posted

    I am 80 years old and I started playing tennis 6-7 days per week. About a month ago I got a severe case of Planter Fasciitis. While playing I started getting terrible pain in both of my feet. I only play doubles so I am not running as much as you single players. One of the guys I play with is a doctor and he confirmed what my problem is. I wound up buying compression socks plus copper clad socks and a bubbling foot bath. After treating my feet for a day they would feel better. I would go out and play again with the reduced pain until I could not stand it any longer. This has been going on for about 6 weeks. Right now I have not played tennis for over a week. I am going to try it again tomorrow. I am always looking for a quick fix because I can’t give up what I love to do.  I have been using CBD oil that seems to help. I also have used a topical cream containing flurbiprophen and tramadal. Last year when I had trouble with my hips I was taking Advil but wound up in emergency with bleeding ulcers in my stomach. I can take the CBD and the topical creams. It’s hell getting old. 

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the responses. PF had been onsetting slowly for me over the last year.( Im 52) It got so bad after a match a few months ago that I took about a 4 week break from tennis.  My first time back on the court I was 15 minutes into a practice session with my kid when I felt a severe tear in the arch area of my foot. I basically had to crawl off the court and walked with the assistance of a crutch for the next 2 days. That was about 6 weeks ago and haven't played since.  

    I will take some of the advise I've read here and hope for the best. I can't imagine not playing tennis. 

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  • Posted

    I am 37 and based on all the symptoms I am almost positive have it in my left foot. Hurts more in the morning and after a lot of walking/activity. It started last summer after walking at the zoo half the day but has gotten better, primarily because I found a sandal this year that is the most comfortable. I now need tennis shoes for working out that won't hurt 2 seconds in and can't find a good shoe anywhere. Any suggestions?

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    • Posted

      Hi Kris,

      PF hits most of us in out fifties or when we retire but a change in the daily routine can bring it on so there are many causes and you have to decide if it was due to an injury or tightening of the calf muscles. An injury needs time and rest to recover say 6 weeks and cushioning of the heel with gel heel pads or gel insoles both of which are cheap and will fit in most trainers and walking boots which should be your main choice of footwear from now on, no sandal's or flip flops although some say high heels work for them so you could be lucky. Once the injury has healed you can try calf stretching exercises to take the strain off the PF tissue but carry on with the cushioning until all pain has gone and I still have them in my walking boots and trainers as I fear it coming back.

      Cycling and swimming are good exercises to do as they both take the weight off your feet and are good for you anyway.

      If the PF was due to reasons other than an injury then you can go straight in with the exercises and cushioning, no need to rest.

      Other causes of PF can be heel spurs or swelling due to gout so this should be checked out if the pain persists.

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  • Posted

    Get to a pool and do the backstroke for 15 to 20 minutes.   You will be amazed and how that takes away PF in no time.  Has worked for me 4 times now!  Let me know how it works for you.  Whatever hassle it is, do it!  Good luck.
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