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4:57 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Hell on Heels ~ Plantar fasciitis

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Hello Simply fit Readers,

Over the last six or so months, I've been having an issue with the heel of my left foot. It started out as a minor discomfort and inconvenience, but gradually turned into a sharp throbbing pain that had me limping with every step.

I thought that maybe I needed to take a break from my running regimen so I started riding a stationary bike instead, but even this didn't help the issue. In fact, the pain started getting even worse with each passing day.

Looking for the cause of my pain, I found a condition called Plantar fasciitis "plat-ter fash-ee-eye -tus," but I wasn't sure this was my issue because one of the symptoms is pain at the first step after getting out of bed or after sitting for a long time. This was not the case for me. My pain was triggered by standing for long and even short periods of time and the pain was worse at the end of the day.

I finally went to my doctor who ordered an X-ray of my foot. A few days later, I was told that I had a bone spur at the site of my pain and a little arthritis to boot. Yikes! My mind was immediately imagining surgery, and a big foot cast. There goes my summer!

The following week, I saw a podiatrist who, after looking at my foot, explained that I did in fact have plantar fasciitis and that the bone spur was not the cause of my pain. Call me confused at this point. The podiatrist showed me how to wrap my foot to help alleviate some of the pain. He also gave me a few stretches and exercises to perform and out the door I went.

After three more weeks, I decided to visit my chiropractor to see if he could offer any additional help because even though my foot was getting a little better, it was sure taking its sweet time! The chiropractor gave me some of the same advice as the podiatrist but he also adjusted my foot and ankle which were "locked up". This helped a little but I admit; I wanted this fixed...NOW!

I'm now using a foot band that helps support my arch and heel cups. I've been doing the recommended stretches and exercises as well as rolling a golf ball and a frozen water bottle under my foot (OUCH!) and I am using an anti-inflammatory cream. All of this has helped to alleviate some of my pain but I was hoping for an immediate cure.

The one aspect of this situation that annoys me the most is that I ignored this pain for months. I'm always telling people to listen to their bodies because they know it better than anyone else in the world. So what did I do? I ignored my body for months. The podiatrist told me that if I had come in shortly after the pain started, my healing would be minimal. Unfortunately I waited so long that the damage is more extensive which requires a longer time to heal. Bummer!

So what is plantar fasciitis? According to WebMd:

"Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.

Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling."

WebMd also had some helpful tips to reduce your risk of getting plantar fasciitis:

1. Wear shoes with a good arch support

2. Do not walk in bare feet

3. Do Achilles tendon stretches

4. Maintain a healthy body weight

5. Exercise

6. Alternate running with non impact exercises.

Peace!