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Rhythmic Physician: Healing Foot Pain

In previous articles, I’ve discussed Achilles tendonitis, a repetitive stressdisorder of the foot affecting the surrounding muscles and tendons. Thistime we’ll look at plantar fasciitis – another common foot injury thatis uncomfortable in general and thoroughly debilitating to drummers,especially if you’re a heel-down player.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the arch of the foot betweenthe heel and the ball of the foot. There are several possible causes ofplantar fasciitis including wearing higher heeled shoes, weight gain,and increased repetitive use of the foot. You are also more susceptibleto developing plantar fasciitis if your arches are abnormally too highor low.

Plantar fasciitis will typically cause pain in the arch of the footor close to the heel when you first get out of bed in the morning orafter you get up from a seated position and take your first few steps.Pain occurs from stretching out the tight plantar fascia when the footis placed on the floor. The pain lessens after walking.

Treatment can be difficult. Refraining from the activity causing theinjury is the first line of treatment. Stretching the plantar fasciawith a passive stretch in a brace worn at night in addition to whileawake will help diminish the tightness experienced after rest. Regularstretching exercises for the Achilles tendon complex and plantar fasciaare very important. Physical therapy is utilized in those cases that donot respond to early treatments. The judicial use of non-steroidalanti-inflammatory medications can also be beneficial.

The goal of early treatment of these itisis is to limit the durationof the acute stages of plantar fasciitis and to prevent plantar fasciarupture from occurring which will stop an active drummer in his tracks.

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