Have you ever had what my grandma used to call a “hitch in your get-along”? I know I have.
Of course everyone has broken at least one or two legs at least once or twice in their life. No? Ok, but all of us have certainly twisted one or more ankles along the long and winding road in life’s perilous journey. Not really? How about bunions? Corns? Water on the knee? Artificial hip? Rock in your shoe?
How about an evil curse from the Seven Hubs of Hell? This miserable affliction is also known as “plantar fasciitis” and unfortunately, lately, I know of what I speak. If you’ve had this malevolent tribulation visited upon you, I can truly say I feel your pain. Literally.
I know what you’re thinking: don’t be such a wimp – there are many people challenged with a lot worse than a plantar that has fasciitis, or perhaps a fasciitis that has some plantar. This is true, and you are right.
Also, you’re probably thinking that I spelled “plantar” wrong, but, for once, you are wrong. I know, I thought it was “planter” and it had something to do with Compound W but it turns out plantar is another one of those doctor terms originating from a place called “Latin.” It means “sole of the foot,” but of course doctors don’t say “sole of the foot,” they say “plantar” when everyone thinks they said “planter.”
And not to get to doctor-y or technical on you, but as near as I can figure, “fasciitis” is basically “itis” of the “fascia.” Which translates to common English as “hurts like you wouldn’t flippin’ believe”. Many runners and athletic types get this painful disorder which involves something messed up with the thin tissue (fascia) connecting the heel bone (calcaneus) to the toes (toes). And since I don’t run or currently participate in the Olympics, I found out the hard way you can get it from “standing for a long time”. Serves me right for finally getting up from my desk for a while.
Thing is, when this happens you can kiss goodbye such occasionally necessary pastimes as walking, standing, sitting, leg wrestling, rugby or sleeping, and you can say a big hello to Advil, Motrin and Aleve. And you can schedule indeterminate weeks, months or possibly decades of excruciating medical therapy, technically known by its Latin term “torture.”
I’ve had it described to me as “sort of like carpal tunnel syndrome” or “similar to tennis elbow” or “exactly like someone shooting a powerful nail gun directly into your heel.” Especially when it comes to stairs. Whether it’s up or down, negotiating stairs with a foot that cannot bend on pain of death can cause a normally strong and sensible person who has suddenly developed P.F. to break out in a cold sweat, blurt out colorful words that turn the air blue, and then usually break down in a pathetic puddle of blubbering tears. Not that I personally would react so wimpishly, of course. I have an unusually high pain threshold. When compared to, say, a gerbil.
But if the scourge of plantar fasciitis somehow afflicts you, your foot or your feet, you have my sympathy. And when we gingerly limp past each other, sweating and grunting in pain, we can nod and grimace at each other knowingly. Because a hitch in your get-along is a lot less funny than it sounds.
Harley Hay is a local writer and filmmaker.