How would you like to run around feeling like you have hundreds of needles underneath your feet? Doesn't sound very pleasant, does it? Well that’s what Chicago Bulls Center Joakim Noah is dealing with right now. This is called plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory process of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue on the sole (bottom surface) of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. This is more likely to happen if your feet roll inward too much when you walk, you walk, stand or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit for a long time. As the injury advances into later stages, the pain will begin to feel like little needles sticking you in the bottom of your heel with each step.
There is no instant cure for plantar fasciitis but immediate intervention is very important so it does not get worse. Your podiatrist will likely recommend adequate rest to take the strain off the Plantar Fascia and allow the affected tissues time to heal. There are also exercises your podiatrist may recommend, such as:
- Stretching your foot by flexing it up and down 10 times before standing.
- Do toe stretches to stretch the plantar fascia.
- Use a towel to stretch the bottom of your foot.
- Use a rolling pin or tennis ball. While seated, roll the rolling pin or ball with the arch of your foot. If you are able to, progress to doing this exercise while you are standing up.
Your podiatrist may also recommend custom made JM orthotics to be worn in your shoe to support your arch.
As for Joakim Noah, he’s still playing for the Bulls during the playoffs. The series is currently at 3-1, with Miami in the lead.Noah was quoted a couple of weeks ago telling reporters, "It really sucks. It feels like you have needles underneath your foot while you're playing. You need to run, you need to jump (and) you need to do a lot of things while you're playing basketball. So you don't want needles on your feet, right?”
According to the ChicagoTribune, Noah is receiving treatment for his plantar fasciitis. Aside from resting when he can, he has tried platelet rich plasma injections, sleeping in a splint and three seasons ago- shock wave therapy. He most recently received cortisone shots. Although these treatments might be beneficial, they are far from the typical prescribed treatments. For those of us who are not Joakim Noah or a pro-athlete during their mid-playoff stride, it is recommended that, first and foremost, you go and see a podiatrist. It is also recommended that you rest and stretch as much and often as you can. It is imperative that you do not put unwarranted stress on the heel of your foot.