March basketball tournaments inspire Weekend Warriors to step up their hoop game. Cody Olson, DO, an orthopedic surgeon with Banner Orthopedic Surgery Specialists, recommends taking a few precautions to avoid landing on the disabled list.
A common ailment basketball players face, which can take you out of the game and possibly sideline you from more than just basketball, is pain on the bottom of the heel. Olson says plantar fasciitis is usually the culprit.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of a big band of tissue — specifically a ligament known as the plantar fascia — that is found on the bottom of the foot, extending from the heel bone to the toes.
“The quick movements and frequent jumping that come with basketball make heel pain a fairly common problem for competitive athletes and weekend warriors alike,” Olson said.
The pain of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing sensation in the bottom of the foot at or near the heel. It’s usually most painful during those first few steps in the morning or when getting up after sitting for a long period of time.
“As you move around, the pain tends to subside,” he said. “However, that doesn’t mean the problem magically disappears.”
Olson offers these tips to minimize your risk of developing plantar fasciitis when shooting hoops:
- Lace up the proper footwear with adequate arch support
- Warm up and stretch prior to playing
- Stay hydrated, both during and after the game
- Follow up each game with stretching
“A good rule of thumb is to replace your basketball shoes about every six months,” Olson said. “You can also increase the arch support of your shoes with over-the-counter inserts to help reduce stress to your plantar fascia.”
If you experience pain in your heel, Olson recommends slowing down and giving your body — and heels — time to heal.
If the pain lasts more than a few weeks, he suggests consulting a physician to determine if it’s something more serious.
Beyond surgery, treatment options for plantar fasciitis can include rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or injections.