There are 26 bones in the human foot, of which the heel (calcaneus) is the largest. The human heel is designed to provide a rigid support for the weight of the body. When we are walking or running it absorbs the impact of the foot when it hits the ground, and springs us forward into our next stride. Experts say that the stress placed on a foot when walking may be 1.25 times our body weight , and 2.75 times when running. Consequently, the heel is vulnerable to damage, and ultimately pain. So what causes the Plantar Fascia to become inflamed? There are a number of various reasons for this to occur. For example, you are more likely to develop Plantar Fasciitis, if you are over 50 years old, if you're overweight, or pregnant, or if you have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces. You're also at risk if you do a lot of walking or running for exercise (overuse injury). And if you have tight calf muscles (which a lot of people have) you're also more likely to develop Plantar Fasciitis. Even if you have no risk factors, wearing high-heeled shoes (especially spike heels) can still cause problems, such as shortening of the Achilles tendon. They also increase stress to the ball of the foot. This can lead to bursitis, synovitis (inflammation of joint fluid) and even nerve irritation. Even lower-heeled dress shoes, including men's professional footwear, can lead to arch strain, tendonitis and PF. If you'd like to wear heels (who doesn't want to appear taller?), they should be no more than 2 inches. For people who insist on sandals, ask a podiatrist about custom-made sandals, in which arch supports are crafted right into the body of the sandal. Festivals occur in the early fall. One is called the Festival d'Acadiens. I never miss it because I meet with one of my very best friends, Rhonda du Lanclos, who is from Houston. She was a belly dancing teacher and I joined her class. We recognized each other instantly - yes, we would be life-long friends. She, talented, beautiful, dynamic and me, a crazy woman. We hit it off. Ballroom dance shoes should contain a metal tang for arch support. Greater arch support provides a more comfortable dancing experience, and has been shown to prevent pain in feet, ankles, knees and back. People working on hard surfaces overstress their fascia, such as department store clerks and teachers. Some sports activities also overburden the fascia like excessive running, aerobics and basketball. The contributing factors for heel spur include sudden increase in weight; loss of elasticity with age, poor shoes, inflexible calf muscles, weak foot muscles and flat feet. Typical symptoms consist of pain when getting out of bed in the morning and after sitting. Many people also experience discomfort at the end of the day or the day after exercise/strenuous activity. Others describe their pain as radiating or sharp shooting pain which likely involves a nerve in the heel area.