What Is Plantar Fasciitis? - Tiger Woods' Foot Injury

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the Hero World Challenge after developing the painful foot condition, but what is it?

Tiger Woods lines up a putt at the 2022 Open at St Andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the weeks leading up to the Hero World Challenge, everything looked perfect for Tiger Woods’ first appearance since the 150th Open at St Andrews in July.

Less than two weeks ago, it was reported that he would not use a cart during the tournament at Albany in the Bahamas. That news, combined with announcements that he would compete in The Match next month and the PNC Championship a few days later, offered encouragement that he was on track to continue his comeback from a career-threatening leg injury after playing just three times earlier in the year. However, that optimism was tempered by Woods’ announcement that he would not participate in the Hero World Challenge after developing plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

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Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects a thick band of tissue called the fascia located at the bottom of the foot and running between the heel and toes. The fascia helps support the arch of the foot and muscles. However, if it becomes too stretched, it can lead to small tears, which cause pain and inflammation in the heel.

The pain is usually most acute when taking the first steps of the day and often improves with activity. If you have been standing for a long time, though, it can worsen - something Woods’ medical team would surely have been keen to highlight to the 15-time Major winner before spending several hours at a time on the course. The condition can also make it difficult to raise your toes off the floor. People most at risk of developing the condition include those aged between 40 and 60 (Woods is 46) and those who have recently started walking and standing more. 

There are several ways to treat the condition, including night splints that stretch the calf and foot while sleeping, applying ice to the area, supportive shoes, various foot exercises, exercises that don’t put pressure on the feet (including swimming), taking anti-inflammatory painkillers and rest.

If treated appropriately, the the pain can ease within two weeks. However, it can take several months for the condition to heal completely. Woods appears confident that, in his case, the former timescale will apply - he still intends to compete in The Match on 10 December and the PNC Championship just five days later.

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Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.