San Diego Padres second-baseman, Jedd Gyorko, started running today at the spring training facility.  He has been out with severe plantar fasciitis.  This painful condition can be disabling for some and often, but not always, preventable.  Some people seem predisposed to this — why ?

Foot pain

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis a painful condition of the tight connective tissue on the bottom of your foot.  It helps to support your arch and connect the bones of the foot together.  It connects with strong tissue around the back of the heel to the achilles tendon and muscles of your calf.  It can become inflamed from overuse, the lack of flexibility or injury.  The pain can be severe, usually with the first few steps when you stand up, and then it often dissipates.  Sit down and rest, and it will be back when you get up.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is causeed by repetitive overuse and is common in runners, anyone on their feet most of the day, and its incidence increases with age.  There are different theories as to the origins of plantar fasciitis and its related conditions of achilles tendonitis and  achilles tendon tears.  Humans are the primary creatures on the planet that walk on their heels – can you name another animal that walks on its heels?  Certainly not your dog or cat.  Some think there is some inherent tightness in the tendons and fascia of people that may contribute to these conditions.


Prevention is the best place to start.  Work on your flexibility.  Stretch out your calf.  If you need help, see your orthopedic surgeon to assess how tight you may be and if a physical therapist may be able to create a good stretching program for you. I’ve listed some really simple stretches below.

Plantar fasciitis treatments

Treatment is centered around decreasing the inflammation and improving flexibility to prevent it from coming back. Stretching, anti-inflammatory medications, icing, and more stretching have been the mainstay of treatment.  Rolling the foot on a frozen water bottle is a common technique, as is stretching on a flight of stairs.  Occasionally, splints to hold your foot in a neutral position at night is helpful.  Rarely, injections or surgery are needed.

Here are a few good stretching ideas for you:

1.  Calf stretching

Sit on your bed or the ground.  Wrap a towel around your toes.  Pull your toes toward yourself for 30 seconds while you feel the stretch.  Repeat 5 times with each foot.

Stretch your foot with a towel

Stretch your foot by pulling your toes back with a towel before you get up in the morning.

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2.  Calf Stretch
While standing in the ground or a stairstep, lean forward with your knee straight and feel the stretch in your calf.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat 5 times three times a day.

Plantar Fasciitis

Stretch your calf by leaning forward with a straight knee.

Best wishes to Jedd Gyorko –  hope to see him back on the field soon!


Dr. Scott Hacker is a Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon in San Diego, CA, Team Surgeon to the US Olympic Team. He specializes in sports medicine and sports injuries, knee and shoulder surgery.

If you have questions about plantar fasciitis, or have plantar fasciitis, please feel free to contact me at Ask Dr. Hacker or through my office.

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