A Disease Treatment Metaphor For The Heel Pain That Doctors Call Plantar Fasciitis

A Disease Treatment Metaphor

disease treatment metaphor for plantar fasciitis: image copyright purchased from ShutterStock

Looking for answers in the wrong place?

You’ll get the wrong treatment!

The power of stories: People tell me from time-to-time that they were told not to exercise with a heart stent. They ask me what I think. I just send them to the story of Bob Scott (above).

Metaphor: A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else.

There are several conditions that I consider to be inappropriately named. Such a false name may misdirect treatment. Names create an impression in the mind. Sometimes a false impression. For instance, I recommend SHP instead of ADD. It just makes more sense. Such a change could save lots of kids from being medicated unnecessarily. SHP kids need a different learning environment to ‘regular kids’ (they’re all regular, btw!).

disease treatment metaphorAs stories are more effective than instructions, I thought, Maybe I can try stories on my old bugaboo, heel pain that doctors incorrectly call plantar fasciitis!

[ASIDE: Why do I care so much about disease names? Because I’m a pathologist. Pathology is the study of the nature of disease. Half my PhD defense was spent persuading three English professors that the American name for the disease subject of my dissertation was better than the English one. They didn’t like it, but I won in the end. Boy! I sure sweated that one – but they were wrong, English or not!]

Here’s the first chapter of a book in progress, ‘Plantar Fasciitis Stories.’  Why am I writing this? Because I hate those heel injections – medieval nonsense.

An Insightful Disease Treatment Metaphor

We used to have a great handyman, Karl. One day, Karl helped us to solve the mystery of a house problem. A serious house problem.


The property was due to go on the market.

Horror of horrors! The inspector found termite damage. Half the staircase was now being replaced. Thank goodness for termite insurance.

disease treatment metaphor; shirts that go.


But why termites?

It was a pretty new, cooky cutter house, made of ’ticky tacky.’ We should have called Karl right away.

Termites like dark and damp. The crawl space appeared generally dry. There was evidence of a little water accumulation down the right hand side of the house. It wasn’t mentioned by the inspector before we bought the property. So we forgot about it.

The presence of termites indicated the potential for serious water contamination in the crawl space.

I decided to go under the house during a train storm, to see how much water was coming in. There was enough water to play pooh sticks. A large pool had formed against the rear breeze-block wall. The house faced the road. In front was a long lawn that sloped up towards the road. Is this water was draining from the lawn?

Not wanting the expense of paying Karl to fix the problem, unless we had to, I decided to do it myself.

Being human, I rushed for a solution.

disease treatment metaphor: borrowing brilliance David Kord MurrayRushing for a solution is how we survived and evolved. Our ancestors didn’t wait to see if rustling grass was a tiger or just the wind. The ones that survived assumed it was a tiger and rushed for the obvious solution. Run! This explains many of our behaviors today. [I got thought this from a great book, Borrowing Brilliance. So I did, thanks David]

Obviously, water is the cause of our termite problem, so let’s get rid of the water. Right? It’s obvious. Off I go to the hardware store, to buy a sump pump. This is a standard approach to water accumulation in a cellars.

I read the instructions on the box and hunted around for a place to hook up the power. That done, I started to dig where water had pooled during the rain storm. Once there was a sizable pit, I placed a sturdy bucket in the center of the muddy hole. To hold the pump away from the mud. Then it started to rain cats and dogs. Before I know it, muddy water is up to my waste.

That got my attention!

Wait a minute! Where is this water coming from?  There’s so much water. It arrives too fast to be the lawn. Hell, I know enough about grass and fluid mechanics to figure that one out. Damn, it must be coming from the roof. But how? Gutters, downspouts, and drains carry roof water away from the house. Um! Better check those pipes.

I check all the water ducts. There’s the sound of water flowing from the roof into the ground. I even see it coming out of the drainage pipes.

Curiouser and curiouser!

disease treatment metaphor: gutter downspout adaptorI call Karl, explain the situation, and he says, “Check the downspout adapters.” Check the what?

I start to dig again, following Karl’s careful directions. This time around the base of the left hand downspout. The downspout is a pipe coming from the roof gutters down into the ground. I clear away the mulch, to find that the downspout is connected to a drain pipe. They are connected by a downspout adapter.

I go to the other side of the house, and you guessed it. No downspout adapter. During heavy rain, water from the right side of the roof is flooding onto the ground to flow into the crawl space.

There was a whole bin full of plastic downspout adapters at the hardware store. They were on sale. Only 80 cents a piece. This fixed the problem in a jiffy. Thanks Karl.

The building crew had failed to install the right-hand downspout adapter!

For want of a nail a shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe a horse was lost.

For want of a horse a king was lost.

For want of a king a kingdom was lost.

Thousands of dollars lost by the Termite Insurance Company. A house sale delayed. A sump pump purchased for no good reason. At least I now recognize downspout adapters in the hardware store.

The cure for our termite problem lay upstream, much like that for the heel pain that doctors call plantar fasciitis. I came up with a better name, but people will hate it: Acute Cancaneal Nociceptive Disorder

Go Figure!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.