The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Proof that Foot Pain Doesn’t Discriminate: The POTUS Suffers from Plantar Fasciitis

Posted by on Friday, June 20th, 2014


The President of the United States was given a clean bill of health at his annual physical, but there was one nagging problem listed. He apparently suffers from plantar fasciitis (heel pain) in his right foot! Plantar fasciitis results from small tears or inflammation along the thick fibrous tissue of the foot’s arch, causing a “stabbing” sensation in the heel. Active, middle-aged adults tend to suffer from this condition the most, but it is a common condition among young athletes, as well. Plantar fasciitis pain is one of the many conditions we treat here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City.

President Obama playing basketball
Is the president’s basketball playing to blame for his plantar fasciitis?
Image source: White House (Pete Souza) via

Is Basketball to Blame for Obama’s Foot Pain?

The Huffington Post speculates that President Obama’s love of basketball has something to do with the one condition that dogs him. After all, NBA stars like Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade, Joakim Noah, Tony Parker, and Kobe Bryant have all suffered from plantar fasciitis heel pain at some point in the last five years. Some reconstructive surgeons even suggest that the term plantar fasciitis should be supplanted with the nickname “basketball heel.”

As you’ve probably noticed, basketball players are big and tall — yet also agile. They’re quick on their feet and move rapidly from one direction to the next — pivoting, sprinting down the court, and jumping. The arch muscles and ligaments are working over-time, trying to absorb the shock of the game from minute to minute. Is it any wonder they often suffer from chronic foot pain?

plantar fascia
Heel pain often occurs when the plantar fascia tissue band becomes inflamed or injured.

Other Factors Can Cause Heel Pain, too.

Of course, basketball isn’t the only cause of heel pain. Approximately 10% of Americans will suffer from the condition at some point in life due to factors like:

– Having naturally flat feet or a tight Achilles tendon

– Repetitive trauma that causes micro-tears

– Obesity wearing down the fat pads on the soles

– Wearing the wrong shoes

– Working a job that requires a lot of standing and walking

Sure, there’s a some basketball-playing fun in the President’s schedule, but more than likely, his condition was caused by the biomechanical factors such as flat feet or a tight Achilles tendon, combined with a busy schedule involving standing and beating feet down the hallways of Congress, going from meeting to meeting. We see a lot of business managers and CEOs with plantar fasciitis for much the same reason.

treat heel pain
The POTUS may need to put his feet up a little more often to treat his heel pain.
Image Source: White House (Pete Souza) via

How Can President Obama Treat His Plantar Fasciitis?

The official medical report cited the heel pain as “chronic,” and said that the President treats his plantar fasciitis “with ibuprofen.” Many patients try to manage the pain with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory — which often helps. However, over time, the condition may worsen to the point that next-level care must be sought.

Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we have helped some patients find relief through simple measures, such as rolling the foot over an icy water bottle, wearing night splints, increasing the flexibility of the Achilles tendon, and simply finding the right style and size shoe. Custom molded orthotic inserts can work wonders for plantar fasciitis, as well.

For the more advanced cases, we have given cortisone injections and revolutionary new treatments like shockwave therapy. In the absolute worst-case scenarios, plantar fasciitis surgery is another option on the table for chronic heel pain sufferers.

If you’re looking for plantar fasciitis treatment in New York, then book an appointment with our team of experienced podiatrists today. Our goal is not to sideline you, but to help you through active recovery!



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.