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Are people with plantar faciitis more susceptible to chronic exertional compartment syndrome?

Question: Are people with plantar faciitis more susceptible to chronic exertional compartment syndrome?

My husband is in his mid-30's and plays basketball daily (60 to 90 minutes) with a group of men, which he has been doing for years. A few years ago, he developed severe plantar faciitis, requiring surgery to resolve. His surgery was successful, but about a year ago, he began struggling with calf issues. He thought these were muscle strains (in both calves), so he took a week off and then tried to play again. No matter how much time he takes off the pain returns IMMEDIATELY when he starts to play basketball. The pain lasts for about a day and then is completely gone. He recently took 6 weeks off and today, his first day back, after playing for about 5 minutes, the pain was back and he had to quit. He has tried orthotics and different stretching/icing routines as well. He reminds me of a college athlete friend who had chronic exertional compartment syndrome. I know this is typically a condition of high performance athletes, which my husband is not :-), but I wondered if the fact that he had plantar faciitis would make it more likely that he could suffer from chronic exertional compartment syndrome, as both are issues with "tight" facia. We are also wondering if he needs to see an orthopedic surgeon? His PCP has recommended the ice, rest, and orthotics, but now is suggesting he find a new sport. Any input would be appreciated.

Jennifer

Answer:

Hi Jennifer.

I seem to have had the reverse experience. See my question, "Are people with chronic anterior compartment syndrome more susceptible to plantar fasciitis ?"

The description of plantar fasciitis on this site suggests that it often stems from another injury like calf strain. My anterior compartment syndrome is a shin condition often confused with shin splints. Hence my question regarding plantar fasciitis resulting from my shin compartment syndrome.

I overcame my anterior compartment syndrome by adjusting my walking (and running) technique. It seems I was landing with my ankle braced, preventing my foot from "slapping" down. This overworked my shin muscle resulting in the compartment syndrome to which I was susceptible.

The technique mainly involved landing with more relaxed shin muscles and ankle. It also includes having feet parallel, rather than pointing outwards, and landing more on the outside of the foot and heel, rather than the centre of the heel. This is more of an underpronation (or supination), ankle leaning out, landing. I now fear that this compensation has contributed to the plantar frasciitis, but it is more likely to result from overpronation, ankle leaning in.

Perhaps in compensating for the plantar fasciitis, your husband is landing more on the ball of his foot, overworking his calf muscle, opposite to what I was doing with my shin muscle. Examining his landing technique may find if it contributes to either condition.

Cheers, Eddie O