PLANTAR fasciitis has become a byword ever since big man June Mar Fajardo said he is suffering from the foot injury that makes him unavailable to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the coming Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.
So what really is plantar fasciitis and how threatening is it to a pro player's career?
To have a clearer understanding, Spin.ph talked to top sports medicine doctor Edgar Eufemio, who said plantar fasciitis is very painful but is not exactly career threatening and therefore do not need utmost caution like ACL, MCL and other injuries.
“That's a painful (injury) talaga. Usually, treatment is very conservative, pero kailangang mag-therapy usually,” said Eufemio, who treats top players of Rain or Shine and the Philippine Azkals.
According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis involves “pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.”
Eufemio bared that playing through the injury is not even dangerous.
“You know Jeff Chan from before? Nung finals last time, he was playing the whole playoffs na may plantar fasciitis. So kaya,” he said, citing the Rain or Shine gunner's decision to suit up in the last PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs.
“It's a choice (of the player). Depends on the pain tolerance, pero majority are able to play through it. Pero siyempre, I guess, for him (Fajardo), if he is worried na magwo-worsen, kaya ayaw niya sumali, that's his decision,” he added.
The doctor from Cardinal Santos Medical Center said playing through it is not a bad idea since the injury will no longer bother you once the tissue breaks.
“Si Jeff ang good example ng hindi mo aalagaan dapat ang plantar fasciitis, kasi once mapunit 'yan, healed ka na. Once mapunit 'yan, gumaling ka na. Kasi 'yan ang gusto mong mangyari, once mapunit, okay ka na,” he said.
“Yung iba kasi talaga, pinapalaro. Kasi once mapunit 'yan, hindi na babalik 'yan. Masakit 'yan ng ilang linggo, then afterwards okay na 'yan. Si Jeff pinapunit ko talaga, pinaglaro ko ng may anesthesia ng kaunti hanggang napunit. Nung napunit, okay na siya.”
Eufemio said plantar fasciitis is common among athletes, mostly caused by wear and tear.
“Mahigpit ang kapit nun (tissue) sa buto, kaya pag sobrang mahigpit ang kapit, namamaga talaga. Siya ang taga hawak para hindi maging flatfooted ang paa. Pag napunit kasi siya, para lang siyang garter na lumuwang, di mas madali. Hindi na masikip yung paa mo,” he said.
Eufemio declined to speculate on Fajardo’s injury, but admitted he saw his performance in the last Governors Cup finals when he led San Miguel Beer to the championship following a four-game sweep of Alaska.
“Sobrang ganda ng laro niya nun ah, di ba? He played very well. So I don't know if he was already playing with pain noon o wala pang pain noon. Only their team doctor should know,” he said.
“I saw their game in the semis against Rain or Shine. I treat players from Rain or Shine, and he played very well. I was there sa venue. Mukha namang okay siya. He's very dominating, magaling naman talaga yan eh,” he said of the reigning back-to-back league MVP.
Asked if already he saw some signs of plantar fascitiis on Fajardo at the time, Eufemio gave out a hearty laugh.
“It really depends on the pain threshold. The way he was playing, he played well enough to look like na okay siya, na kaya niya 'yung pain tolerance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fajardo's doctor, Raul Canlas, didn’t return calls made by Spin.ph in order to get a clearer update on the injury of the fourth-year center.