The Manning Brothers Have History With Heel Pain

The Manning Brothers have both struggled with plantar fasciitis Eli and Peyton Manning have a lot in common: they’re both top-ranked NFL quarterbacks, they’ve both won the Superbowl and they’ve both suffered from the heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

In 2009, New York Giants QB Eli completely tore his plantar fascia;  that season, he led his team to an 8-8 record, playing through the pain. He needed “a few weeks” to fully heal, he said. At the time he was 28 years old.

Fast forward to 2015. His 39-year-old brother Peyton, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, is dealing with a partially-torn plantar fascia. Oddly, a partial tear is usually more painful than a full tear, and Peyton’s advanced age may slow down the recovery process.

So, what really happened to the brothers? Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition where an inflamed plantar fascia causes heel and arch pain. In an inflamed state, the plantar fascia is quite painful and many athletes treat the injury with cortisone shots, which can weaken the band of thick connective tissue which supports the arch on the bottom of the foot. When already weakened and inflamed, an additional burst of forced (like the kind you create when playing football) can lead to a partial or complete tear.

A partially torn plantar fascia can’t be fixed with surgery; instead rest, immobilization and rehab pave the road to recovery for this kind of injury. Which means, as Eli says, Peyton will “be fine," but he’ll likely be sideline for between 3 and 6 weeks.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.