What Is a Ruptured Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick piece of fibrous connective tissue that extends from the heel bone and fans out along the bottom of the foot to the toes. The fascia provides support to the arch of the foot and acts as a shock absorber.
Patients with chronic plantar fasciitis may experience a plantar fascia rupture, or tear in the ligament, which is an uncommon injury.
What Are Symptoms of a Ruptured Plantar Fascia?
Symptoms of plantar fascia rupture include:
- Foot pain
- The pain feels sharp and tearing
- Located on the sole of their foot
- Swelling of the foot
- Popping sound when the injury occurs
- Difficulty walking on the injured foot
What Causes a Ruptured Plantar Fascia?
Plantar fascia rupture is often associated with a history of flat feet and and/or a history of plantar fasciitis.
The injury usually occurs during an athletic or high-impact activity such as:
- Exercise involving jumping
How Is a Ruptured Plantar Fascia Diagnosed?
Plantar fascia rupture is diagnosed starting with a physical exam to check for tenderness in the sole of the foot.
Tests that may be used to confirm a diagnosis of plantar fascia rupture include:
What Is the Treatment for a Ruptured Plantar Fascia?
Treatment for plantar fascia rupture is aimed at reliving symptoms and allowing the body to heal itself, and usually includes:
- Use of crutches
- Limited activity
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain
After about 4 to 10 days following the initial injury, patients may begin to bear more weight on the foot. Treatment at this stage may involve:
- Wearing stiff-soled comfortable shoes
- Use of a walking boot
- Gentle plantar stretching
Patients are often able to return to normal standing or walking activities in a few weeks, but return to high-impact sports may take months.