In July 2008, I experienced some foot pain, but felt that I could work through it by exercising. Therefore, a round of Australian tennis doubles with two friends sounded wonderful in order to enjoy the warm weather and to burn a few calories!
By the third game of the match, it was time for me to play the singles court. The first rally went just fine, although I don’t remember who won the point. After a good serve to start the second point of the game, we started to rally. One of my friends hit an off-speed shot to my backhand. While standing around the baseline, I remember shifting my weight from the balls of my feet to my heels and then -- realizing that the shot was going to fall shorter than I expected -- shifting back onto the balls of my feet to start sprinting toward the ball. But a stabbing pain in my right heel caused me to stop dead in my tracks. “I’m through,” I said, hobbling gingerly to the courtside bench.
How little did I know how true that statement would be! I was through with exercise for quite awhile while I waited for the heal pain – also known as plantar fasciitis – to subside.
Many people don’t know what plantar fasciitis entails. “My first thoughts about plantar fasciitis, when I heard a friend of mine had it, were that it sounded like a good excuse to get out of doing something that required standing,” Kathy said. “However, the Lord works in funny ways and when I developed my own case, I ate my words.”
So what is it? According to HealthCentral.com , “Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, a fibrous band of tissue on the sole of the foot that helps to support the arch. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this band of tissue is overloaded or overstretched. This causes small tears in the fibers of the fascia, especially where the fascia meets the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis is common in obese people and in pregnant women, perhaps because their extra body weight overloads the delicate plantar fascia. It is also more common in people with diabetes, although the exact reason for this is unknown. Plantar fasciitis also can be triggered by physical activities that overstretch the fascia, including sports (volleyball, running, tennis), other exercises (step aerobics, stair climbing), or household exertion (pushing furniture or a large appliance).”
Leslie developed this injury from standing a lot working retail sales and teaching step-aerobics classes five years ago. She went to a podiatrist who fitted her with orthotics and gave her specific stretches to do at night and especially in the morning. “I still wear the orthotics in my workout shoes but for the most part, I don't wear them,” Leslie explained. “To avoid having this injury again, I try to buy new workout shoes more often and stretch when I start to feel pain. If I know I'm going to be standing or walking for long periods, I try to be cognizant of wearing more supportive shoes.”