In 1348, the Bubonic Plague, or the Black Death as some call it, hit the shores of Italy and quickly spread throughout Europe, killing off anywhere between 25 percent and 50 percent of Europe’s total population.
It seems in 2010, the Black Death has hit the Spurs for the second time. Thankfully, it’s not the Bubonic Plague, but unfortunately it is Planter Fasciitis.
It was announced last week that Tony Parker has been suffering from a case of Planter Fasciitis, and many Spurs fans are asking the same two questions: 1) What is Planter Fasciitis and 2) How is it cured?
Planter Fasciitis, or PF as it’s referred to by doctors, is the most common cause of heel pain. Let me break PF down for you. The Planter Fascia is a long, thick piece of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. The Planter Fascia acts like a rubber band, creating tension in the foot, which helps to maintain the arch of the foot. As you apply pressure to your foot, this creates small tears in the Planter Fascia, leading to inflammation of the heel and chronic pain. It also causes heel spurs.
The mechanics of the foot play a huge part in Planter Fasciitis. If you have too high of an arch or you’re flat footed, your Planter Fascia can begin to tear. The Planter Fascia can also become overworked if your foot hits the ground in an abnormal way. Of course, as a point guard, Parker’s feet hit the ground at all sorts of different angles. So there is no real way to prevent PF. A lot of it has to do with the way your feet were made. The only real way is to buy shoes that fit your feet properly and adds support to the foot’s arch. Also, stretching of the calf and planter fascia can help the fascia from tearing.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PF. The only remedies are ice, over the counter anti-inflammatory pills such as ibuprofen, and rest. But in the midst of a long, 82 game season, rest is not an option. Coach Pop is going to have to play Parker fewer minutes and rest him on certain nights.
It will be up Spurs head athletic trainer Will Sevening to come up with a program that can help relieve Parker of some of the pain. Sevening has been with the silver and black for 12 seasons as the head athletic trainer. Sevening’s program will consist of anti-inflammatory medication to help with swelling as well as applying ice to the bottom of the foot for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Sevening will also provide Parker with gel heel cup inserts to place directly under the heel. This will help relieve pain while elevating the heel, releasing some of the tension on the Planter Fascia.
This isn’t the first time PF has hit a Spur All Star. During the 2005-2006 season, Tim Duncan was hit with a severe case of PF. Despite the pain, Duncan missed only two games. However, his scoring dropped from 20.3 points to 18.6 points a game. But Parker’s play will undoubtedly be more affected by PF. His scoring average is down from last season’s career high 22 points to this season’s 17.1 points. As a point guard, Parker will be running the floor and creating fast breaks, along with guarding the quicker guards of the opposing teams. Every time he is on the court, he will continue to put pressure on his Planter Fascia, and the pain will be excruciating.
We Spurs fans need to look at the brighter side of this situation. With Parker playing fewer minutes, Hill will have a greater opportunity to flourish and will continue to become a great all around player. The more playing time Hill gets, the more comfortable he will become with the Pop’s system. And that’s what we want going into the playoffs, a confident George Hill and, hopefully, a healthy Tony Parker, creating match up nightmares for any team we face.