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Plantar fasciitis: controversy rages over runners’ worst enemy

By on Jun 5, 2013
Image illustrating plantar fasciitis injury

Plantar fasciitis may not be the most charismatic-sounding injury,as Gretchen Reynolds of the NY Times puts it. But, as runners know to their cost, there aren’t too many that are more common.The injury has struck countless recreational runners, as well as top athletes such as Ryan Hall. Yet, as this article highlights, controversy still rages around the scourge of so many runners.

More information about the article

Despite such an impact, significant uncertainty remains over what actually causes the injury. That underscores, Reynolds argues in this article, our limited medical understanding of overuse injuries and, not unrelatedly, the challenges we face in treating them.

While experts can agree on what plantar fasciitis actually is, the nature of the condition has remained the source of much disagreement and not a little controversy.

  1. For many years, the typical view was that plantar fasciitis involved chronic inflammation of the fascia.
  2. The medical consensus has tended to shift more recently.
  3. Explanations increasingly involve degeneration or weakening of the tissue, to an extent that the body’s capacity to respond is overwhelemed.
  4. Reynolds cites a fascinating study, published in the BMJ in 2012. It found positive evidence that cortisone injections may relieve heel pain.
  5. But studies of other injuries that are now considered degenerative, such as tennis elbow, have found evidence that cortisone shots actually slowed tissue healing.
  6. Given such conflicting indications, it’s not surprising that uncertainty about how best to treat the dreaded heel injury remains rife.

…comfort yourself if you do have the condition with the knowledge that Kobe Bryant, Eli Manning and Ryan Hall have all returned to competition…

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