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Athletes With Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an excruciating diagnosis that had been around since the ‘70s. Professional athletes are the most vulnerable to contracting the injury due to their intensive training and demanding active seasons. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue beginning at the heel bone and extending along the sole of the foot in the direction of the toes. In the event of its inflation, it hurts worse than one could imagine. Morgan Valley, formerly a guard for the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team, described it as “sort of the same as someone picking up my foot, grabbing a thick piece of wood and slamming it repeatedly into my sole.”

Valley isn’t alone in her battle with plantar fasciitis; many pro athletes join her in the upward battle to overcoming the injury. Immobilizing professionals for decades, both former NBA player Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal have fallen victim to the season changing fault. In addition, Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, San Diego Padres player, Logan Forsythe, and Evan Longoria, third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, have all contended with an ugly case of plantar fasciitis. It has affected Forsythe’s last season so terribly, he is now considering surgery.

More common than you may think!

The Los Angeles Lakers are no stranger to losing a player or two. Both Paul Gasol and Kobe Bryant have been stricken with the task of overcoming the piercing pain of plantar fasciitis. Back in 2004, Bryant initially assumed it was only a sore foot; he was soon brought head to head with an ugly rude awakening. Joakin Noah of the Chicago Bulls and Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings have each gone through recovery from the strain. Boston first round draft pick, Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk, had to work through the pain that sat him out of his first season.

In the NFL, quarterback Eli Manning is well-known for his suffering. Jarius Bird, safety for the Buffalo Bills, has been added to the list of victims joined by teammate Mario Williams. Kent State’s Antonio Gates, now serving as tight end for the San Diego Chargers has battled reoccurring turf toe, a twisted ankle, and plantar fasciitis as icing on the cake. The Chicago Bears defensive end, Shea McClellin and Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers both played through their injuries. Although extremely painful, they weren’t alone in their teeth clinching feat, Ted Bryant and Zach Millar both play through plantar fasciitis last season.

Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall had to overcome his stint with the inflammation in 2006. Scott Podsednik of the Royals and the Dodgers managed to steal 35 bases last season before plantar fasciitis pulled him to the bench. Progressing through his therapy and treatments, he’s aiming to make a comeback to the major leagues with the Blue Jays.

Is it really that serious?

Joakin Noah didn’t hold his tongue when speaking on his injury with reporters. “Plantar fasciitis sucks,” he said. “It feels like you have needles underneath your foot while you’re playing. That’s what it feels like, so you can imagine. You need to jump, you need to run, you need to do a lot of things while you’re playing basketball, so you don’t want needles underneath your foot, right?”

Albert Pujols said, “You almost want to pee in your bed, rather than go to the bathroom because the first thing in the morning it’s so painful.”

Season after season, athletes put their health at risk to provide inspiring and jaw dropping entertainment for our leisurely pleasure. We hear of the big contracts and signing bonuses but we neglect to take into account how much of a risk it is to suit up and get out there every game. Plantar fasciitis doesn’t just disappear. It is a persistent and nagging pain. Unfortunately, it can affect the performance levels of many athletes.



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