Throughout the course of his prematurely-ended career (he retired at 30), Yao suffered many a foot injury; his problems were often blamed on his towering 7”6 frame. In his 486 NBA games, the star managed to hurt his toe and his fifth metatarsal bone; fracture his left ankle twice; and undergo foot surgery.
Despite having retired 6 years ago, foot pain is still a constant for Yao. ““I can tell you my foot never came back to [how it was] before after my surgery in 2008. Today, I feel this foot is almost completely numb on top of my foot. The surgery damaged my nerves. I feel less down there,” the star shared with Graham Bensinger during an interview in Houston.
Yao’s story is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Repeated sports injuries and foot surgeries can cause lasting damage to a player’s body—that’s why it’s crucial to carefully select your foot surgeon and follow all doctor’s orders regarding your rehab period. If you’re an athlete and have been told you need foot surgery, don’t go under the knife without getting a second opinion. My Houston podiatry practice is happy to offer pre-surgical consultations.