San Diego Chargers Antonio Gates Out This Week
Tight end, Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers, has been off of his right foot since last Sunday. He felt a pop in his foot and was diagnosed with a plantar fascial rupture. He did not play today. When will he return?
The plantar fascia is a tissue that lives on the bottom of the foot. It goes from the heel bone all the way to the toes. Near the attachment site of the plantar fascia onto the heel bone, many people experience plantar fasciitis. Less commonly, individuals can tear the plantar fascia in this same area and have a plantar fascial rupture.
Plantar fascial ruptures are typically seen in individuals involved in athletic activities, where sudden changes of direction or push off are necessary. Typically, this includes tennis, soccer, basketball, and football. The plantar fascia can also tear in patients who are treated with steroid injections for plantar fasciitis.
Individuals who suffer a plantar fascial rupture will experience sudden pain, swelling, and perhaps bruising on the inner heel and bottom of the foot. It is difficult to walk and put weight on the foot. The pain does not go away for days. A thorough physical exam and x-rays are needed to evaluate the injury. The x-ray may show related bone injuries. If the diagnosis is suspected, often times an MRI is ordered. The MRI has the ability to look at the soft tissues.
Those who suffer from a rupture of the plantar fascia are in severe pain. Pain medications and anti-inflammatories are usually needed. The patient is immobilized in a boot or cast and made non-weight bearing for 3-4 weeks. Thereafter, the person is allowed to walk in a boot and start physical therapy. The therapy keeps the scar tissue stretched out, while the plantar fascia heals. Heel cushions and a night splint (a device worn at night only, which keeps the ankle up) are used as well.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE
If you suspect that you have sustained a plantar fascial rupture, you should seek medical attention within days of the injury.
RETURN TO ACTIVITIES/OUTCOMES
Most athletes with this injury are out from competitive plays for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
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