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Basketball Players
Plantar Fasciitis in Basketball Players

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition affecting the plantar fascia and its attachments on the bottom of the foot. The condition is created when trauma or wear and tear cause micro tears of fibers within the fascia and of fibers that insert the fascia into other structures.

Up to 10% of the population may present with heel pain over the course of their lives, and plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain presenting to the outpatient clinic.1 The challenge for basketball players is unique, though; those who suffer face physically grueling seasons and very little opportunity for rest. Age, size, and repetitive movement are other factors that contribute to repeated irritation.

While he or she may not have the luxury of resting as much as would be ideal, there are measures that can help the player get back on the court faster. These include addressing shoe type, frequency of shoe replacements, use of custom orthotics, and certain therapies. The condition can improve with appropriate conservative care, but the key is patience and perseverance.

Goals: Healing of the plantar fascia. Decreased frequency of episodes and intensity of symptoms.

Activity: Running, jumping, pivoting.

  • Adjust dysfunctions found in the articulations of the feet. Pulsed ultrasound can be beneficial.
  • Daily ice sessions of 20 minutes per day.
  • Shoes with firm, supportive midsoles that tie in the hindfoot to the forefoot reduce stress on the plantar fascia and will reduce stress on the midfoot in general. It’s important to replace shoes regularly (NBA players, for example, are expected to replace them every 2-3 weeks).
  • Full-length orthotics support the plantar fascia and the arches of the foot. If a spur and/or associated bursa are present, further customization with a small cut out under the spurs location is beneficial.
  • Pain-free ankle exercises are recommended: dorsiflexion.
  • Pain-free ankle exercises are recommended: Pain-free ankle exercises are recommended: plantar flexion.
  • Pain-free ankle exercises are recommended: inversion.
  • Pain-free ankle exercises are recommended: eversion.
  • Other considerations include night splints, massage and laser treatments.