Heels over Head?

It’s amazing what you can learn from reading the Sunday paper.

For example, in reading yesterday’s New York Times, I learned that Courtney Love wants to be trusted again, a tape worm in the gut can grow to 15’ long and produce hundreds of eggs every day, Domino’s now has 40 percent more cheese on their pizzas, and Kanye West has changed his opinion of George W. Bush.

And this I learned from my local paper:  the pain in my heel is probably not my dachshunds’ fault.

I’ve been blaming them since the pain began that causes me to limp, then curse, limp, then curse, for the first six minutes after I get out of bed in the morning.  After that, the pain goes away, and I go on with my day.  It doesn’t even hurt when I play tennis.

My bedroom is right above the garage, where my puppies sleep.  And probably three out of seven nights every week, they wake me in the middle of the night with a mournful howling that sounds kind of like the Twilight Bark in Disney’s 101 Dalmations.

I don’t know if they’re singing or broadcasting the news that somewhere a dog has gone missing or simply calling the spirits of their dachshund ancestors.  Whatever they’re doing, it’s irritating at 3 a.m.  And when it begins, I jump out of bed, pound the floor with my heel, and yell, “Shut up!”

It works every time.

But then it dawned on me that perhaps my middle of the night floor pounding might be the cause of my heel pain.  So I switched feet.  And the problem with that theory is my right heel isn’t feeling any better.

But like I said, it’s amazing what you can learn from reading the paper.  And it doesn’t even have to be the New York Times.  In yesterday’s St. Augustine Record, I read an interesting Dr. Donohue column that enabled me to re-diagnose my condition.

Apparently, I have plantar fasciitis.  The same thing Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is suffering from.  In fact, it’s a common ailment among NBA stars.  So I’m in some pretty elite company.

The plantar fascia is the connective tissue between the heel and the toes.  It can become inflamed, and the most common symptom is extreme heel pain, particularly in the first few steps after prolonged rest.


I read the most common causes of plantar fasciitis in Dr. Donohue’s column and verified the information on the WebMd.com site.  Here’s a checklist of causes:

  1. Middle age
  2. Too much running or walking
  3. Running or walking on hard surfaces
  4. Excessive body weight
  5. Tight Achilles tendon and calf muscles
  6. Being an NBA star

I can hear the snickering.  And just for that, I’ll leave it to my readers to figure out which three out of the six I own.

The cure, of course, is contradictory – ease up on heel pounding activities and lose weight.  It would probably be easier to teach my dachshunds to read the Sunday New York Times.  Or to heel.

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