5 Ways Pickleball Players Can Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
You just walked in the door from playing 4+ games of Pickleball.
You take off your shoes and say to yourself “my feet are killing me!”
You begin to waddle around like a duck for the rest of the afternoon because your feet are hurting so badly.
You go to sleep thinking nothing of it.
You wake up and realize your feet hurt worse than they did the day before.
You go about your daily life.
Pain stays the same.
The cycle continues.
Does this sounds similar to what you’ve experienced?
Well, read carefully, because here are the ways to help treat and/or prevent plantar fasciitis!
- Increasing Rest Time
Yeah, you probably expected this to be number one. No surprise. Here’s why: the more often you play, the more stress you are putting on the fascia. Small micro tears occur in the fascia begin to increase in size as too much tension builds - especially near the heel. These tears occur through overuse in the fascia and surrounding muscle groups. It’s better to increase your rest time when symptoms start to arise, rather than to play through and create larger tears in the fascia. If you’re like me, I know it’s tough to miss a day of pickleball, but a few days of rest can make a world of difference when it comes to foot symptoms.
- Include Self Massage or Rolling Daily
Doesn’t a massage sound good right about now? How about giving your feet some love? Many of my plantar fasciitis clients find pain relief from self massage using either a ball (tennis, lacrosse ball, even a pickleball!) or a water bottle (some like the frozen water bottle). I prefer using a ball for my clients because they are able to gain more mobility in their foot from it. Here’s a sample video you’d see in one of my plantar fasciitis programs.
- Get FLEXY!
Make flexibility and stretching a priority when dealing with plantar fasciitis! Make sure you are stretching your big toe, calves, and quads! Here's a great toe stretch you can perform as you read the rest of this article.
- GET THE RIGHT SHOES
I see so many people playing in shoes that are probably too narrow for them. When the toes don’t have enough room to spread out and move as they’re supposed to, the foot (and fascia) will get irritated. I recommend to my clients, a “wider” toe box shoe that has a good arch support! Orthotics can help reduce pain, but should be paired with daily foot flexibility and strengthening exercises!
- YOU MUST GET STRONGER!
To combat plantar fasciitis, the foot has to be stronger and more flexible! For many pickleball players dealing with plantar fasciitis, it’s pretty simple…their foot isn’t strong and doesn’t move well. That, in combination with overuse, sets them up for failure! What are you doing to strengthen your feet? Anything? You may know that you need to, but aren’t exactly sure where to start. I’ve put together a FREE 7 day plantar fasciitis program for pickleball players to start on! You should really do this! Tons of value for 7 days with no need for a credit card! If you've read this far, click this link! https://www.trainerize.me/profile/athletesprehab1/Garrett.Nealon/
If pain persists and you have exhausted all of your options, you need to go see a doctor! A sports podiatrist will have some different treatment options like cortisone injections, taping, splints, etc.
Plantar fasciitis treatment usually takes multiple months to fully rehab. It requires combinations of rest, ice, stretching, and strength training. It is a process, but it is necessary so that you can play more pickleball in the future!
Garrett Nealon CES, CPT