Jock Doc

Plantar fasciitis can lead to tear, remedies include night splints

Q. Over the last few months I had pain in the bottom of my foot when I woke up in the morning. It got better during the day after I loosened up. It would bother me also after running. Last week while running, I felt a sharp pain and a tearing near the bottom of my heel. It hurt a lot and I went to urgent care. The X-rays were normal and they gave me crutches and told me I had a sprain. It still hurts a lot and I wonder what I should do now.

A. It sounds like you initially had a plantar fasciitis that went on to tear while you were running. The plantar fascia is the tissue that makes up the arch of your foot. Plantar fascia on the heel is prone to overuse injuries. Most initial symptoms of plantar fasciitis are morning stiffness, stiffness after working out, and pain while walking barefoot.

There are a variety of initial treatments for plantar fasciitis, including shoe inserts (orthotics), comfortable shoe wear, anti-inflammatory medications, night splints and physical therapy. As in your case, occasionally an athlete can tear the origin of the plantar fascia off the bone. This is usually treated with crutches or if needed, a walking boot and physical therapy. It is not unusual to take more than a month to be able to return to sports. I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon or foot specialist as quickly as possible.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to