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October 28, 2022

Sixers injuries: Joel Embiid had plantar fasciitis over the summer

During the first week of the Sixers' season, head coach Doc Rivers revealed that All-Star Joel Embiid had been dealing with plantar fasciitis over the summer. The ramifications from that lack of conditioning program this offseason, which was limited with this injury, could be playing out with the Sixers' slow start to the season. 

What is plantar fasciitis and how could it affect an athlete of Embiid's capabilities? 

"It's a band of tissue that runs from your heel to the end of your feet, the beginning of your toes basically." said Dr. Christopher Selgrath, an orthopedic surgeon at Nazareth Hospital. "It's really where the arch of your foot is."

"What happens is that gets too tight with plantar fasciitis," he continued. "It actually gets real tight. It tends to bother people in the morning when they first wake up and once they walk around and start stretching it out with the motion of walking, then it starts to feel a little bit better. But then what will happen is over time, on the same afternoon, for instance, then it would start hurting again because now it's just been stretched out so much and was so tight before that it starts to cause pain. 

"So that's what he's probably dealing with. It's going to stretch out a little bit, but by the end of a game, it's probably going to be fatigued and it's going to start to give him some pain."

Selgrath says this is a "nagging type" of injury, something that is "non-operative" and is treated primarily with a stretching routine. 

"People use rolling pins, tennis balls," Selgrath said. "Think of it like kneading out dough if you were making bread or a pizza. You got to stretch this fasciitis out.

"It's not very flexible. It's not a muscle where there's a lot of give.You could maybe supplement some arch support or something to prop up that fasciitis so it doesn't get so tired. Arch support could be beneficial."

There is also a medicinal approach. Selgrath lists anti-inflammatory medicines, as well as a cortisone injections option, but, ultimately, the cure is to stretch it out.

"It's a tight fasciitis. It needs to be stretched out," Selgrath said. "It can go away. It doesn't necessarily need surgery."

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and guest authors and do not reflect any official policy or position of any NBA team or a team's athletic physicians.

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