Pau’s Plantar Fascia Pushes Him to the Bench

Plantar fasciitis or inflammation of the plantar fascia is one of the most common causes of foot pain that leads people around Columbus to consult their podiatrist at Columbus Podiatry and Surgery. Runners and ballet dancers are commonly affected, but participants in all sports can fall victim to the irritating heel pain caused by this condition. Most recently, the Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Pau Gasol suffered a more acute athletic injury to his plantar fascia after suffering from plantar fasciitis for the past several months. In a game last Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets, Gasol ruptured a portion of his plantar fascia, placing him out of commission indefinitely.

Plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciosis is a thickening of the band of tissue called the plantar fascia that supports the long arch at the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia becomes taut with each step as the toes extend, and thus pain in plantar fasciitis is felt during weight bearing. Heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis occurs most commonly in the morning, or when taking steps after being seated for a period of time. In plantar fascia rupture or tear, pain occurs immediately after vigorous physical activity with bruising and swelling appearing in the plantar arch of the foot. In Pau Gasol’s case he related hearing a “pop” noise at the time of his injury.

In about 95% of individuals, plantar fasciitis pain can be relieved successfully with conservative treatment. This can include night splints, custom orthotics, a stretching and icing regimen, and corticosteroid injections. In patients who are still enduring severe heel pain after several months of conservative treatment, other more invasive options should be utilized. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is one such technique in which shock waves applied to the affected heel area act to damage the nerves that send pain signals and to create small spaces that effectively separate the plantar fascia from the heel bone. This technique allows athletes to continue participating in their sport while they are undergoing treatment. Heel surgery can also be used to detach the plantar fascia from its attachment to the calcaneus where it is becoming taut and irritated. Endoscopic techniques can be used to achieve this result with a shorter healing time than the traditional method of making a larger incision in the skin and cutting the fascia. Pau Gastol should eventually have a decrease in his plantar fasciitis symptoms due to the release of fibers from the heel after he recovers from the trauma of his injury.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia