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Ouch! What the Heck is Wrong With My Heel?

It isn’t always easy to find the time to exercise. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the energy to do anything at all. But the most frustrating situation is to have the time and the energy to exercise, along with an injury that prevents you from performing your normal fitness routine.

Today I want to talk about a condition that, according to Wikipedia, at least 10% of the population will be plagued with at some time in their life. As the wife of a podiatrist and a medical assistant who spent many years working in his office, I can say that I think the percentage is even higher than 10%. The condition I am referring to is called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament (plantar fascia) that connects the heel bone (calcaneus) to the toes. This band is also what makes up your arch. It is the major transmitter of weight across your foot as you walk or run. So this ligament is a big deal to the foundation of your body.

Plantar fasciitis shows itself as pain in the heel and arch. Most sufferers complain of “pain with first steps”. This simply means that they experience pain when they first get up from sleeping or sitting. Sometimes the pain will lessen or even disappear once they walk around for a while and this is actually because the ligament stretches so that the tightness causing the pain is gone.

If you go to the doctor for this condition, and I always support going to a specialist, in this case a podiatrist, he or she will first do an exam and discuss your symptoms. After that you are likely to have an x-ray taken. An x-ray will not show plantar fasciitis because ligaments do not show up clearly on an x-ray film. However, the podiatrist will be able to rule out other problems. This is an important step because no one wants to be treated for the wrong condition. If you have a fracture of your calcaneus, you do not want to undergo treatment for plantar fasciitis! So get the x-ray.

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