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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Oct. 9, 2012

Heal Your Heels

By Sabine Martinez 11th Force Support Squadron fitness and operations specialist

The human foot is an amazing piece of engineering. Your feet are actually shaped like bridges, and in the course of your day, the arch of your foot (the bridge structure) and your muscles and tendons and ligaments (the support structure) do a great job of moving you around and absorbing shock.

Just like a bridge, though, too much repeated shock to the structure will certainly break something. In the case of your feet, one of the most common "minor" sports injuries is

Plantar Fasciitis, which is simply an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the muscles on the bottom of the foot.

The term comes from "plantar," which refers to the foot, and "fascia" which refers to the connective tissues that allow your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones to slide against each other.
The inflammation is almost always caused by repeated shocks to the foot - and this could be as easy as repeatedly pounding your heels on the floor or on hard ground when you walk.

Although it's "minor," it certainly hurts a lot - that's because the inflamed fascia become very sensitive to pressure, and when the tissues are inflamed they do a lousy job of allowing things to move smoothly; in fact, they grossly impede proper movement.

The symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis can be difficult to separate from other problems such as bone spurs or bone fractures; they all tend to produce "shooting" pains in similar areas. Of course, if you are experiencing a shooting pain ANYWHERE on your body, it's best to take your symptoms to a medical professional for proper evaluation.

Fortunately, upon diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis, the remedy is simple: stay off your feet!

There are anti-inflammatory drugs that will relieve the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis, but it is a simple fact that the inflammation will not truly go away until you remove the cause of the inflammation.
More specifically, a person with Plantar Fasciitis should avoid the actions that produced the pounding or shocks to the feet in the first place. Give your body time to heal, and only then should you get back to your fitness routine.

In the long-term, consider what actions you can take to avoid Plantar Fasciitis, or any other inflammation. Pounding and improper movement are often responsible for inflammation and other more serious injuries.
Remember, when the human body is used correctly, it is an engineering marvel!