plantar fascia rupture or plantar fascia tearIt’s well known that plantar fasciitis or heel pain is one of the most common foot conditions seen in a podiatrist’s office. But what about plantar fascia rupture, also known as a plantar fascia tear? Fortunately, this type of injury is not common. However, there are certain things that can put a person at greater risk for it.

Causes of Plantar Fascia Rupture

One of the more common causes of plantar fasciitis is participation in high impact sports like running, basketball, and tennis. Plantar fasciitis can become chronic if it's not allowed to fully heal or if it's treated inadequately. Participation in sports activities can also put a great deal of stress on the plantar fascia.

The combination of chronic plantar fasciitis and participation in high impact sports can put a person at greater risk for a plantar fascia rupture. 

Other risk factors that can lead to a plantar fascia tear are:

  • Obesity
  • Problems with balance which can lead to a fall
  • Standing for long periods of time eg. On the job
  • Flat feet
  • Limited ability to bend the ankle-places more stress on the plantar fascis
  • Heel spurs
  • Use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics
  • A return to sports too quickly after getting a cortisone injection.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a plantar fascia rupture or tear can include:

  • Sharp pain
  • Bruising
  • Popping sound during the injury
  • Difficulty walking on the affected foot

Diagnosis of Plantar Fascia Tear

Along with the symptoms your podiatrist will take an X-ray, use ultrasound, and an MRI to confirm your diagnosis.

Treatment of Plantar Fascia Rupture

Patients should apply the RICE protocol immediately after the injury to reduce pain and inflammation. This acronym stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice- 20 mins on and off with an ice pack or frozen peas
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Follow-up treatment at our Seattle podiatry office may include:

  • No weight bearing with cast for 2-3 weeks—if the tear is complete
  • Walking boot –if tear is partial
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Custom orthotics
  • Platelet-rich plasma
  • MLS laser therapy

Prevention of Plantar Fascia Rupture

Athletes who are at risk for plantar fascia rupture or tear due to repeated bouts with plantar fasciitis should do the following to prevent this injury.

  • Build up your training routine slowly—this is very important for weekend warriors or for any athlete who has been away from their sport for awhile.
  • Be sure your plantar fasciitis bout is completed healed before returning to your sport.
  • Avoid returning to sports right after receiving a cortisone injection
  • Always wear your custom orthotics.
  • Make sure you replace your shoes every 500 miles
  • Purchase shoes that are designed for your sport. And buy those shoes from a store that specializes in that sport. e.g. Super Jock and Jill for running shoes
  • Avoid running or training in areas with debris or other objects that can causing tripping
  • Avoid use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics