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Podiatry in Sports: The Case of Ryan Zimmerman’s Nagging Plantar Fasciitis

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will likely be out of action for another two weeks while he recovers from a nagging case of plantar fasciitis, manager Dusty Baker told reporters on Sunday.

Zimmerman, who started running the bases last week without any problems, was previously placed on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in June of 2015 after dealing with it for most of the season. Now, after another flare-up in his left foot to start spring training, the 31-year-old veteran isn’t taking any chances with this recovery this time around.

“It’s a cautious approach, knowing I don’t need that many at-bats down here to get ready,” Zimmerman recently told “I would be more worried if I haven’t been able to do everything else. I have participated in everything but the running, which I did for the first time [Tuesday], and I feel good today.”

This latest bout with plantar fasciitis is only the most recent injury in a long string of ailments for Zimmerman in recent years. He hasn’t played more than 100 games in a season since 2013 and has averaged just 110 games per season since 2011.

A painful condition that involves swelling and irritation of the thick connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot from the heel toward the bones in the mid foot, plantar fasciitis is common, especially with athletes and runners, but can affect just about anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet.

For Zimmerman, the fear of this condition returning for a third time is certainly valid, as most people who experience plantar fasciitis will have recurrences over time.

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric surgeon and physician with over 30 years of experience, deals with patients suffering from injuries to the plantar fascia on a regular basis and believes that Zimmerman’s decision to rest the injury now will undoubtedly pay off later.

“Every time he stepping down at heel strike and moving down from side to side, he’s on the actual muscle, and he’s tearing it,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who has offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. “In order to get the best results, you have to stop all activity.”

As far as additional treatment methods, Dr. Goldbuam notes that a custom-made orthotic shoe inserts will play a large role in both Zimmerman’s recovery process and keeping him healthy upon his return.

“A very good, supportive shoe will reposition the weight off of his plantar fascia,” said Dr. Goldbaum “It will also help provide proper shock absorption at heel strike and keep his neutral subtalar joint in position so that his foot is in biomechanical correctness.

“It’s all about balancing out the lower extremities so that he’s not putting abnormal pressures or changes onto the plantar fascia.”

As Dr. Goldbaum pointed out, one of the most important things in preventing plantar fasciitis from coming back again is addressing the faulty biomechanics that caused it in the first place. In order to expedite the healing process, however, there is a chance that Zimmerman may turn to more advanced treatments, such as platelet-rich plasma injections or laser therapy to reduce inflammation.

The Erchonia FX 635 Laser

The Erchonia FX 635 Laser

Through his own experiences, Dr. Goldbaum has found that laser therapy, most notably the use of Erchonia’s FX 635 laser, is an excellent way to provide individuals experiencing chronic heel pain with a non-invasive, efficacious solution to quickly improve their walking comfort and quality of life without surgery.

“Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful and persistent,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who is the only podiatrist in South Florida currently utilizing this advanced technology. “Erchonia’s FX 635 laser is ideal for chronic heel pain sufferers, because it offers effective, pain-free treatment — without side effects. In just three weeks with two treatments per week, patients can have significant and lasting relief from plantar fasciitis.”

Looking ahead, it’s advanced precautions like this that could potentially help keep Zimmerman’s plantar fasciitis from plaguing him in the future.

“That’s where the short link is going to break,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “The trainer knows that’s an issue and will need to always make sure that the are is tapped up, in an orthotic and warmed up before play.”

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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