Plantar Fasciitis, Turf Toe, and TE Antonio Gates

Associated press reported Monday that San Diego Charger’s TE Antonio Gates returned to practice in a limited role. Antonio has been out for the last three games for problems related to the plantar fascia of his right foot. We have talked about plantar fasciitis before and it is typically treated with rest and proper support. Unfortunately for Mr. Gates, his case is the extreme opposite. While we do not know the finer details of his health history, it appears from reports that we can trace his problems back to a turf toe injuring in 2008. He set several records from his NFL start in 2003 until he pulled out of his 5th Pro Bowl in 2008 due to problems in his left foot. We here at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists wish this athlete the best and want to discuss his injuries here to better inform his fans.


If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed that the 2008 injury and subsequent surgery was his left foot and his newest problem is his right foot. Plantar fasciitis often occurs on the opposite foot of another injury due to compensation, or unconscious attempts to take strain off the injured foot. The ‘turf toe’ injury is commonly seen in football players and occurs when the big toe in flexed up beyond its normal range. This hyperextension causes damage of the soft tissue and possibly the sesamoids of the big toe. He underwent surgical correction of this injury that year. This kept him playing until September of 2010, when he hurt his big toe and ankle while playing against Jacksonville. While Gates had minor bouts of plantar fasciitis in the past, the fact that he played through these injuries on his left foot, caused increased demands of the right foot. He continued to play through October 31, 2010 when he caused a partial tear in his plantar fascia. It is this tear and the subsequent scar tissue that resulted that continue to be a problem.


Plantar tears do not have to occur! If you have heel pain, seek out a proper diagnosis from your Austin podiatrist.   Plantar fasciitis may be the cause of this pain, and there are a variety of treatment options available. By implementing the RICE principle and seeking our professional treatment, you can keep your plantar fascia healthy and pain free!


Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy, Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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