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Who Powered Through: 49ers FS Dashon Goldson?

The timing of this latest (and greatest?) sponsorship campaign could not be more perfect. Vicks is sponsoring a series of bi-weekly posts (every other week, is bi the right word?) looking at injury issues. We can discuss most anything related to injuries, but the title of this campaign certainly can be applied to the latest news about 49ers free safety Dashon Goldson.

Reports indicate that Goldson has been playing the season with foot, knee and wrist injuries. He apparently has a deep bruise of his right kneecap, a right wrist sprain, and a slightly torn plantar fascia in his left foot. I want to focus on the plantar fascia injury but first, a word about the wrist sprain. The reports are stating Goldson suffered the wrist injury last November against Tennessee and it has since been aggravated. I tweeted Goldson to see if it simply didn't heal properly over the offseason because that seems like a long time for that injury to linger. I'm no medical expert so I won't judge one way or the other, but rather I'm curious about this wrist sprain.

The bruise to the kneecap certainly has to be painful, but the slightly torn plantar fascia is the injury that concerns me the most. After the jump I've posted a graphic of the foot showing the plantar fascia and achilles tendon. I did some googling and came across a podiatry message board for "foot health professionals." In that link they're discussing partial tears of the plantar fascia. After the graphic following the jump I posted a list of ten "biomechanical functions of the Plantar Fascia." Do we have any doctors who can interpret the list?

Goldson apparently rested up over the bye week and says he's feeling as healthy as ever. I've heard enough about plantar fascia injuries to know that they are supposed to be very painful because of the positioning of it on the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is the really painful injury, but I can't imagine a partial tear is much less painful. If you're a professional athlete looking to drive off your foot, I could see why this could cause some issues. Dashon Goldson has had his share of struggles in the first half of the season, but I could see this injury causing some problems.

If Goldson has this pain on his left foot it's possible he might not be able to get the necessary leverage to make some of the big hits that force fumbles. It's possible it could affect his tackling entirely. I'm not giving him a free pass but I do believe it's an issue that has to be fully considered. Of course, as long as he continued to play, he certainly could face some blame if he wasn't able to bring his A game because of the injury. We only know as much as we're told, but it's all worth considering.


Ten Biomechanical Functions of the Plantar Fascia

1. Serves to support the medial and lateral longitudinal arch in a higher arched position (i.e. stiffens the longitudinal arches)

2. Assists in resupination of subtalar joint (STJ) during propulsive phase of walking

3. Assists the deep posterior compartment muscles by limiting STJ pronation

4. Assists the plantar intrinsic muscles in preventing longitudinal arch flattening

5. Reduces tensile forces in plantar ligaments

6. Prevents excessive interosseous compression forces on dorsal aspects of midfoot joints

7. Prevents excessive dorsiflexion bending moments on metatarsals

8. Passively maintains digital purchase and stabilizes proximal phalanx in sagittal plane

9. Reduces ground reaction force on metatarsal heads during late midstance and propulsion

10. Helps to absorb and release elastic strain energy during running and jumping activities

(from: Kirby KA: Foot and Lower Extremity Biomechanics: A Ten Year Collection of Precision Intricast Newsletters, Precision Intricast, Inc., Payson, Arizona, 1997.)