The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Peyton Manning’s Plantar Fasciitis: How Will Heel Pain Due to Plantar Fasciitis Affect Manning’s Career?

Posted by on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016


Plantar fasciitis heel pain affects 2 million Americans every year. The good news is that it is a condition that generally improves over the course of two years, regardless of whether the intervention entails rest, orthoses, injections, shockwave therapy, ultrasound, laser treatment, stretching exercises, or surgery.1 The bad news is that it really, really hurts in the meantime! NYC podiatrists discuss this common condition, including its latest victim–Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning.

peyton manning's plantar fasciitis
Denver Broncos fans are dismayed by Peyton Manning’s plantar fasciitis, which could spell the end of his career. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

What Do We Know About Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis heel pain requires highly specific treatment, tailored to the individual based on symptoms, range of motion, pain level, lifestyle, and previous intervention attempts. One comprehensive review published in The BMJ of Clinical Evidence reported that:2

  • 7% of people 65+ will experience heel tenderness.
  • Plantar fasciitis accounts for 25% of all foot-related running injuries.
  • More than 1 million Americans see their primary care physicians for plantar heel pain each year.
  • Heel pain affects everyone–athletic and sedentary, young and old, male and female.
  • Risk factors include being overweight and prolonged standing.
  • Other risks include reduced range of motion in the ankle and 1st metatarsophalangeal joint.
  • Of 100 patients, 82 will report resolution of symptoms at 47 months.
  • Only 3 of 100 patients will experience limited activity or disability due to heel pain.
  • 31 of 100 people say they considered surgery at the time of seeking medical attention.

What Happened to Peyton Manning?

The Mannings are no strangers to the dreaded “sore foot.” According to CBS Local News, Peyton’s brother Eli was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis during his 2009 season with the New York Giants and didn’t miss a single game.3

Playing through the pain didn’t work out so well for Peyton, however. Sources told ESPN that Manning suffered heel pain for weeks before significantly aggravating the injury in the November 8th 2015 game against Indianapolis.4 He attempted to play in the November 15th competition against the Kansas City Chiefs (a 29-13 loss), but analysts said it was one of the worst performances of Manning’s career. He was 5-of-20 for 35 yards with four interceptions, two sacks, and a fumble when he was pulled from the game. “I thought I felt good enough to play, that’s what I thought,” Manning later said. “Maybe that was the wrong–maybe that was a false feeling by me…”

Peyton Manning’s Plantar Fasciitis Situation Worsens

In mid-November, it was reported Manning had actually torn his plantar fascia ligament in the November 8th game, which required a week in a walking cast and at least three weeks off.5 Michael Jaycox from Mile High Sports went so far as to report that plantar fasciitis could spell “the end of Peyton Manning.”6

A month later, Peyton returned to practice and performed fine, but he was still taking things “day to day,” signaling a potentially long road ahead.7 Plantar fasciitis has taken down some big name athletes, but most players are able to return to the game eventually.8 However, at age 39, retirement is likely not far off, no matter what. The Bleacher Report notes that NFL quarterbacks tend to plateau around age 25–and that, “by 40, everyone but Favre is gone.”9 Even so, it’s always a shame to see a great player leave the field with an injury, rather than on the high note a long, storied career rightfully deserves.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment in New York City

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC works with professional and amateur athletes suffering from heel pain. We understand the importance of active recovery and skill maintenance as you struggle to return to full competition strength again. Our approach involves a combination of strategies designed to alleviate pain and restore functionality using all the latest modern tools, from ultrasound and shockwave therapies to injections and rehabilitative exercise. Surgery is rarely needed, but we do have experienced, board-certified podiatric surgeons on staff should the need arise. Our chief goal is to get you pain-free–and, from there, to restore functionality and get you back to the game or to your favorite activities. Contact us to learn more about NY plantar fasciitis therapies in our Manhattan or Westchester offices.




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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.