President Obama Faces Agony of the Feet

As it turns out many of our patients have something in common with the President of the United States: plantar fasciitis , a painful heel condition commonly found with active people.

An avid basketball player, Obama is a prime candidate for plantar fasciitis. Though pre-existing conditions such as flat feet or high arches can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis, long distance runners or those spending extended periods of time on their feet are more likely to strain this ligament.

Obama plantar fasciitis, backetball foot injuries

Let’s look at how the President may have aggravated his plantar fascia, a thin ligament like band that connects your heel to the front part of your foot and provides supports for your arch. It plays a very important role in helping you walk and transfers pressure from the heel to the ball of the foot.

Shortly after taking office, President Obama had the White House tennis court adapted so it could be used for both tennis and basketball. The White House has had a smaller outdoor court since 1991, but the adapted tennis court allows enough room for a full court game of basketball. The new court has played host to a number of distinguished visitors, from college basketball championship teams to Wounded Warrior players.

What most likely caused our President’s plantar fascia to flare up is the overuse and trauma caused by practicing his jump shot (which he admits is the best part about his game). The repetitive trauma on his foot forced his arch muscles and ligaments to work harder, not to mention the exponential force on his foot from constant jumping.


Mr. Obama’s plantar fasciitis was diagnosed during a routine health exam, and responded well to non-invasive treatments. Fact is, most of our patients also respond to non-surgical intervention, such as plantar fascia stretches, ice and anti-inflammatory medications.
How to heal yourself:

  • Make sure you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Only wear shoes with ample support and cushion.
  • Reduce inflammation by rolling your arch over a frozen bottle of water for 20 minutes.

The key is —unless you are Commander-in-Chief —to make sure you don’t put off seeing your podiatrist when experiencing heel pain. Too often we see patients who have not received satisfactory relief because previous doctors didn’t seek out the root cause of their plantar fasciitis.

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or heel pain, call us at (877) 989-9110 to setup a consultation at one of our nine Southern California offices. Our expert foot and ankle specialists are leaders in both education and product development in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Our results are revolutionary and unmatched in the country; less than 5% of all UFAI plantar fascia patients need advanced treatment and less than 2% need surgery.

And don’t worry; we’ll treat you like you’re the President too.

Dr. Bob Baravarian

Dr. Bob Baravarian

Dr. Bob Baravarian is a Board Certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist. He is currently a member of UCLA Medical Group, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica/UCLA medical center and Orthopedic Hospital and an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. He also serves as co-director of University Foot and Ankle Institute. He is Editor Emeritus of the international medical journal, Foot and Ankle Specialist.

Dr. Baravarian been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),

Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
Dr. Bob Baravarian

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