When You Should Visit a Spine Specialist

There is never any reason that you should simply endure back pain. In fact, pain is one of the only indicators that there could be something seriously wrong with your back. Scheduling an appointment with a trusted spine specialist is easy, safe, and will help you get on track to be pain-free once again.

When to See a Spine Specialist

It can be pretty normal to experience mild back pain from time-to-time. Perhaps you slept in a weird position  or tweaked your back while dancing. This kind of pain usually resolves itself within a few days, and there’s usually no need to see a doctor for it. However, here are some signs that you may need to schedule a visit:

  • If back pain is moderate to severe.
  • If back pain has lasted several days and hasn’t resolved.
  • If there are any other symptoms with the pain, such as muscle weakness, tingling, or numbness of the arms or legs.

An Overview of a Consultation

Whenever you go to the doctor’s office for an initial visit, you will be asked for a family medical history, and a list of medications you are currently taking. The doctor will then attempt to diagnose the pain, and help find the right treatment plan for you.

To diagnose the back problem, the doctor will perform a physical examination, usually at and around the source of the pain. After a physical examination, they will likely need some images of your back, in the form of an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a CT scan.

After the doctor has been able to diagnose the issue, they will recommend a treatment plan that is as little invasive, yet most effective, as possible. Non-invasive treatment plans usually include medication or physical therapy. If the non-invasive treatment plans do not fix the back problem, your doctor may discuss surgical options with you.

List of Possible Spine/Back Issues

  • Spinal arthritis. A condition that leaves weakness and pain in the arms and legs. Osteoarthritis of the spine is when the cartilage of the joints and spinal discs begin to breakdown. This will often put pressure on the nerves.
  • Sciatica refers to pain in the sciatic nerve, which is located in the lower back and moves down each leg. When the sciatic nerve is injured or under pressure, it can cause intense lower back and leg pain.
  • Herniated discs. A herniated disc is a disc of the spinal cord, in which a fragment of the disc’s nucleus has pushed out of the disc through a rupture or tear. The fragmented piece often puts pressure on a nerve, which can cause pain.
  • Fractured vertebrae. A fractured vertebra is often caused by a car accident, fall, gunshot, or sports injury. These fractures are very serious, as they can injure spinal nerves, which can sometimes do irreparable damage to the body.

Again, there are a lot of cases of back pain that will resolve on their own. However, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms that would require treatment from a spine specialist. When a back or spine gets injured, it can become very serious, very fast.

 

 

When You Should Visit a Spine Specialist

persons spine

There is never any reason that you should simply endure back pain. In fact, pain is one of the only indicators that there could be something seriously wrong with your back. Scheduling an appointment with a trusted spine specialist is easy, safe, and will help you get on track to be pain-free once again.

When to See a Spine Specialist

It can be pretty normal to experience mild back pain from time-to-time. Perhaps you slept in a weird position or tweaked your back while dancing. This kind of pain usually resolves itself within a few days, and there’s usually no need to see a doctor for it. However, here are some signs that you may need to schedule a visit:

  • When pain is moderate to severe.
  • If back pain has lasted several days and hasn’t resolved.
  • If there are any other symptoms with the pain, such as muscle weakness, tingling, or numbness of the arms or legs. 

An Overview of a Consultation

Whenever you go to the doctor’s office for an initial visit, you will be asked for a family medical history, and a list of medications you are currently taking. The doctor will then attempt to diagnose the pain, and help find the right treatment plan for you. 

To diagnose the back problem, the doctor will perform a physical examination, usually at and around the source of the pain. After a physical examination, they will likely need some images of your back, in the form of an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a CT scan. 

After the doctor has been able to diagnose the issue, they will recommend a treatment plan that is as little invasive, yet most effective, as possible. Non-invasive treatment plans usually include medication or physical therapy. If the non-invasive treatment plans do not fix the back problem, your doctor may discuss surgical options with you. 

List of Possible Spine/Back Issues

  • Spinal Arthritis. A condition that leaves weakness and pain in the arms and legs, osteoarthritis of the spine is when the cartilage of the joints and spinal discs begin to breakdown, often putting pressure on the nerves. 
  • Sciatica. Sciatica refers to pain in the sciatic nerve, which is located in the lower back and moves down each leg. When the sciatic nerve is injured or is under a lot of pressure, it can cause intense lower back and leg pain.
  • Herniated discs. A herniated disc is a disc of the spinal cord, in which a fragment of the disc’s nucleus has pushed out of the disc through a rupture or tear. The fragmented piece often puts pressure on a nerve, which can cause pain. 
  • Fractured vertebrae. A fractured vertebra is often caused by a car accident, fall, gunshot, or sports injury. These fractures are very serious, as they can injure spinal nerves, which can sometimes do irreparable damage to the body. 

Again, there are a lot of cases of back pain that will resolve on their own. However, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms that would require treatment from a spine specialist. When a back or spine gets injured, it can become very serious, very fast.

Stem Cell Treatments: The Alternative to Surgery

person with needle

Are you experiencing pain from a previous orthopedic injury, arthritis, or spine pain? Most modern treatments would recommend you undergo surgery to treat this pain. Surgery can be a painful and invasive form of treatment for something that would otherwise just have to be endured. Not only is surgery painful in most cases, but it can also lead to long stints of rehabilitation that can add additional pain to the situation.

What are Stem Cell Treatments?

In recent years, different approaches have come to the forefront of modern medicine. Among them, the best alternative is through the use of stem cells. According to MedlinePlus, stem cells are cells with the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. They serve as a repair system for the body. There are two main types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

Stem cell treatment is actually quite simple. Stem cells are injected directly into the area of pain, eliminating invasive surgery techniques. As we get older, the body has a hard time circulating these versatile cells to the areas where they are most needed. This is where stem cell treatments come into play. Regenexx treatments, a specific type of stem cell treatment, take a highly concentrated dose of stem cells and inject them into the problem area, allowing the body to take over the natural course and heal, strengthen and relieve that join or bone of the pain that it is causing.

In contrast to surgery, stem cell treatments, like Regenexx, have far less downtime, and avoid a long and painful rehabilitation period in which the joints and muscles need time to recover. 

When Should I Consider Stem Cell Treatments?

Regenexx, a pioneer in stem cell treatments, uses stem cells for the following conditions. If you are suffering from any of these, contact your local spine specialist to go over all possible treatment plans: 

  • Orthopedic Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Spine Pain
  • Torn or Strained Ligaments
  • Other Degenerative Orthopedic Conditions

Stem cell treatments are an option that anyone who has these conditions, should consider. It is especially enticing to those who have very busy lives and cannot afford the time that is required to recover from invasive surgery. 

Other Reasons for Stem Cell Treatments

With stem cell therapy’s recent break onto the scene, there are many areas of interest for medical professionals to apply it in. Stem cells are able to be manipulated into specialized areas for an individual’s treatment. Some of the other uses for stem cells include:

  • Nerve damage. Specialized stem cells that have been manipulated for this purpose could be injected into the area of nerves that are damaged. These injected stem cells would then contribute to the rehabilitation of those nerves, as dictated by the body.
  • Treat diabetes. According to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, stem cells could be used to produce insulin that could treat people with diabetes and heart muscle cells that could repair damage after a heart attack.
  • Replacing essentially any tissue or organ that is damaged or diseased.

Summer Sport Safety: Things to Be Aware Of This Season

summer sports

There are many benefits to team sports, and they play such a huge role in the lives of growing kids and teens. They help teach the importance of discipline, cultivate a sense of dedication, and they highlight the necessity of teamwork in the most practical way.

There are, however, things to be aware of when your kids play sports—particularly in the heat of the summer. Safety is always the most important factor for parents, so what can be done to help ensure that your kids are safe on the field? What are some of the most dangerous summer sports, and what commonly seen injuries can they lead to? What equipment should you invest in to help keep your children safe?

Sports and Related Injuries to Be Aware Of

Football is one of the most dangerous sports out there, often ending with ankle or knee injuries. The scariest football injury, however, is the commonly seen head injury. It does seem that, in the wake of concerns regarding traumatic brain injuries in the sport, fewer children are playing football on a team than there once were. Unfortunately, sports and recreation are one of the most common causes of head injury.

Because basketball is so popular among both boys and girls in school, it leads in numbers against any other sport for how many students play each year. Some of the major injuries seen during basketball include ankle sprains and tears as well as ACL injuries.

Baseball is the most popular organized sport among kids between the ages of 6 and 8. Repetitive arm use in the sport means arm and shoulder stress is the most commonly seen injury among baseball players. 

Equipment for Keeping Your Kids Safe

Schools will require the necessary safety equipment to be worn at all times, but it’s imperative that your kids stay protected even if they’re just playing sports in the backyard.

Helmets are essential when playing football, baseball, and softball in order to help prevent head injuries. Concerns surrounding concussions and what they might mean for children later in life are at the forefront of parents’ minds. Be sure to find a high-quality helmet made specifically for the sport your child is playing. It’s also important to ensure that it fits properly and will remain secure at all times.

Mouth guards are important to wear as well—particularly during contact sports where head injury could be a risk. Wearing wrist and ankle guards can help protect your child from sprains or strains if they trip or fall. 

Other Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind

In addition to proper equipment, it’s important to keep in mind that the heat of the summer can take a huge toll on the body. Make sure your child is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This is the best way to help protect them from heat stroke or dehydration.

Your child should also be warming up as much as possible before getting on the court or field. Injuries are far more likely to occur when the body hasn’t been properly prepared for strenuous activity. Dehydration can also lead to a muscular injury, so drinking water is another way of preparing the body for playing a sport.

If your child does become injured, be sure to keep them out of practice and games. Give them time for their body to fully heal. Allowing their body the proper amount of time to heal before putting it through more stress is imperative for recovery.

What You Need to Know About Kidney Stones

artery

There are two physical pains that are often compared to one another, two pains that are considered some of the worst pains that the human body can experience: childbirth and kidney stones. Unlike childbirth, both men and women experience kidney stones. In fact, it is a very common condition that urologists treat regularly. What, exactly, are kidney stones? Are the signs and symptoms to watch for? How can we prevent them?

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are solid, pebble-like masses that form in the urinary tract. They are composed from salt and other minerals from urine, in a process called urolithiasis. When kidney stones form, they can either be a small stone that passes easily through the urethra, or they can build up into larger stones that may block a ureter.

Causes and Risk Factors

There are often a combination of causes for kidney stones, it’s hard to pinpoint a single cause in any case. However, studies show that kidney stones are more common in men than in women, and most often between the ages of 30-60. Here is a list of common factors that put an individual at risk for kidney stones:

  • High urine calcium levels
  • Dehydration
  • Family history of kidney stones
  • Obesity
  • Diets high in animal proteins
  • High sodium intake
  • Excess vitamin/mineral intake

Also, according to Very Well Health, kidney stones are more common in the southern United States, where dry heat and dietary patterns contribute to their development.

Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms that can point to kidney stones. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, make sure to visit a urologist near you so that you can receive a prompt diagnosis and treatment:

  • Intense pain in the back, sides, pelvic or groin areas
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Burning when attempting to urinate
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatment

Kidney stones are typically diagnosed by an x-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT scan.) After a diagnosis has been made, there are several ways to treat kidney stones, each way being dependent on the size and location of the stones.

Smaller kidney stones are usually given a more conservative treatment. Doctors may advise the patient to drink plenty of fluids, rest, and wait for the stone to pass through the urethra. Other forms of treatment include the following:

 

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a technique in which a machine attempts to break apart the stones from outside of the body, allowing smaller, broken down stones to pass naturally.

 

    • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is a technique in which a doctor inserts a small tube, through a small incision, into the body to help drain the kidney.

 

  • A ureteroscope is a small instrument that is inserted up through the urethra to help either extract the kidney stone, or break it apart into smaller pieces.

 

Prevention

There’s no guarantee that kidney stones are completely preventable. However, there are many dietary tips that can be followed to greatly reduce the risks for kidney stones.

  • Drink plenty of water to continually flush out urinary tract.
  • Limit caffeinated beverages to one or two cups per day.
  • Eat less animal proteins and refined sugars.
  • Avoid excess vitamin supplementation.
  • Reduce sodium intake.

Doing what you can to prevent kidney stones could save you from the most excruciating pain that the human body is able to experience! However, it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you believe you may have kidney stones. A trusted urologist will be able to provide you with an effective treatment plan, as well as help you find ways to manage the pain.

The Anatomy of Tooth Extractions

tooth

“It’s like pulling teeth!” We’ve all heard that phrase used to describe an unpleasant situation. Though many of these situations are hyperbolic, the origin of the phrase holds true.

Getting a tooth pulled, or extracted, is not fun. I say that as if there is a type of medical operation that is enjoyable. Getting a tooth removed is going to be very unpleasant and you should do everything you can to avoid it. Let’s break the process down.

What is a Tooth Extraction?

As noted, and hopefully easily guessed from the name, a tooth extraction is an operation done to remove an infected or rotten tooth, though there can be other reasons too. Tooth extractions are generally done to solve a problem and prevent further complication as a result of said problem.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

There are many reasons to pull a tooth. Infection is a very common reason that teeth are pulled. Sometimes it could be that a certain tooth is infected, and your dentist wants to prevent the infection from spreading. Other times the risk of infection is enough to pull a tooth, though this would happen mostly with those with weak or damaged immune systems.

The way your teeth have or have not come in is another reason that certain teeth make good nominees for extraction. If your teeth are too close together, also known as crowding, then you may need one removed to give proper space for your teeth to be correctly aligned.

When I was 16 I had my two baby canine teeth pulled. The reason I even still had those teeth is that the permanent teeth were sideways, therefore not coming down properly. I had a brief operation that involved pulling the two teeth, cutting my gums, and attaching a chain between my adult teeth and braces to pull them into the correct spots. It sucked, but the amount of ice cream my mom let me eat during that time was unheard of.

Ways to Prevent Tooth Extraction

This section will not be mind-blowing. These are mostly very basic things that will keep your mouth healthy.

Brush your teeth twice every day. *gasp* I know, not groundbreaking. The number of people who struggle to brush their teeth, floss, and gargle mouthwash is astounding though. It should be a daily, vigilant habit.

What you are putting into your mouth is very important. For example, toothpaste with fluoride is ideal as that will help strengthen your teeth and prevent infection. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar soda, candy, the ice cream I ate after surgery, should be limited in consumption as they are very bad for your teeth.

Good foods like fruits, vegetables, water, and cheese are great things that will help strengthen your teeth and clean bacteria out of your mouth. These are all easy things to snack on and add to a variety of meals.

Conclusion

Having a tooth pulled is very unpleasant, and in many cases very preventable. Make sure you do your part by eating good things, avoiding bad things, and practicing good oral health. By doing so you can maintain good oral health, hopefully not get chastized next time you go to the dentist, and keep all your pearly whites nice, healthy, and as part of your smile where they belong.

Getting a Filling? Here is What to Expect.

boy getting a filling

At some point in most of our lives, we need more than just a checkup with the dentist. It could be due to a cavity, an injury to the mouth, or other oral pain.

Cavities are one of the most common reasons for dental trips. Cavities occur when food and bacteria cause plaque to build up on your teeth. The plaque is acidic, and over time this can form holes in your teeth, in other words, your teeth are decaying.

Luckily the dental field has advanced a long way and has treatments readily available for when this happens. When it comes to cavities, usually you will get what’s called a filling. A filling can be resin, plastic, or metal. The cavity is removed and the filling is put in its place, making sure that you don’t walk around with a hold in your tooth.

If you have never had a filling before, it can be unnerving to think about. It is a simple process, the whole thing usually takes no more than an hour. Here is what you can expect.

X-ray

Once you are in the chair, the dentist may take an X-ray of your mouth. The dentist would have already done this previously to identify the cavity, but this is a good way for them to ensure that they have the most up to date information. This doesn’t always happen when you get a filling, but it is very common.

Numbing

Once the dentist is ready to begin, you will get your mouth, teeth, and gums numbed. This is done by administering a local anesthetic (medical speak for pain-numbing medication) into your mouth. To ensure that this is as painless as possible, the dentist will numb your mouth using a gel, and then inject the anesthetic, usually Lidocaine, into your mouth.

This numbing will be present throughout the entire operation and for several hours after. The amount of time it takes to wear off depends on the amount of medication administered, and your body.

Drilling

Once the numbing has been completed, the dentist will start drilling the cavity. They are drilling the rotten or infected part of the tooth and removing it. This is rarely painful, dut to the anesthetic, though if you are experiencing pain they can generally give you more medication.

This part can be a little scary because you can hear the drill and can feel things happening (not pain, but you can feel movement and vibrations from the drill) but you can’t see what is going on. It is important to remain still and calm. Dentists are highly trained and very capable of doing this operation.

Filling

Once the bad part of the tooth has been removed, it is time to fill in the tooth. This is done so that you don’t have an awkward hole in your tooth, but also to prevent the tooth from becoming infected or more susceptible to disease.

There are several different filling types, ranging from resin to gold. There are different benefits to the different types of fillings, and also drawbacks. Gold fillings look super cool and last a long time, but they are quite expensive.

Conclusion

If you are going to take anything from this, just know that the process of getting a cavity filled is not anything to stress about. It is a simple procedure, and your dentist will take good care of you. While all dental services differ in process and intensity, just remember that regardless of what the problem is, the solutions are all tested methods that will allow you to have relief from pain and get maintain your 100-watt smile.

The Cause (and woes) of Hammertoes

hammertoes

Many Americans are afflicted by some sort of foot pain. Some are just aches in the muscles while others are far more serious. One injury that is becoming increasingly more common is a condition known as hammertoes.

Hammertoes are an unnatural bend in the toe bone, typically in the smaller toes on the foot. It can be worsened by your choice in footwear, time, and repeated exposure to stimuli such as rubbing or bumping. Minor hammertoes are generally not painful, but get very painful as they worsen. Many people develop hammertoes, but few cases end up being incredibly significant. There are many causes of hammertoes, but here is a look at a few of the most common culprits.

Muscle Imbalance

The most common cause of hammertoes is an unevenness of muscles and tendons. Without the correct forces working to keep the bone straight, the foot’s movements can cause the bone to bow. Once the bend is there, it will continue to worsen, even by doing something as simple as wearing shoes that don’t perfectly fit.

Trauma

Hammertoes are also known to be caused by trauma to the foot. Injuries such as breaks and stubs are perfect examples of potential injuries that lead to hammertoes. I’m sure all of us have felt like our toe was bent after stubbing it against a wall or foot of the bed. Though it seems to last forever, most of us recover from such pain quickly. Thinking of the last time you stubbed your toe should help paint the picture of how a hammertoe is developed following that incident.

Footwear

Style and fashion are discussed in great depth by many around the world. Unfortunately, many people are also unaware that their stylish shoes are also causing foot deformities. Tight and restrictive footwear can cause the toe to repeatedly bend and eventually remain that way, even once shoes are removed. High heels are a big culprit in this arena.

Genetics

There is probably at least one thing your parents passed down to you that you are grateful for; you could be grateful for your mom’s smile, your dad’s sense of humor, or any number of other things. There are other things that you are clearly not grateful to have received from your parents, and hammertoes would definitely fall into that category.

Treatment of Hammertoes

Luckily, hammertoes are common enough that treatments are readily available. As with many medical problems, the earlier you can catch it then easier it is to treat.

  • When identified early, the treatments can be as simple as changing the shoes you wear to a less restrictive fit or size. You might also be given a splint to help keep the toe straight.
  • For hammertoes that are at an advanced stage, there is likely need for an operation. The severity of the hammertoe dictates the aggressiveness of the operation. Some patients have a minor operation and are able to walk out. Others require more in-depth attention and surgery.

If your toes are currently healthy, you can do your best to keep it that way by wearing practical, well-fitting shoes, performing simple foot exercises, or seeking medical opinion. If you think you may have hammertoes, seek medical counsel. An X-Ray can easily confirm or dispel your concerns. Getting the attention you need will get you back on your feet in no time.

Home Health Care Options for Aging Loved Ones

elderly man receiving home care

It is hard to see loved ones grow old. They start to lose the ability to live without assistance, limiting their independence. Note that our aging loved ones can have a hard time accepting the changes that are coming their way.

There are many home health care options out there. It is important to understand the benefits and services they provide, and why those services matter. OneSource Home Health and Hospice, they believe in providing top quality care for everyone; they treat every patient like they are family. Here are some of the great services they provide, and for more details visit onesourcehh.com.

Personal Care

Some caregiving centers just focus on doing only what is necessary and moving on to the next job. OneSource focuses on meeting the needs of their clients. They want to ensure that everything from errands to hygiene is provided. This is vitally important because your loved ones have needs that need to be met. While there may be a list of things that need to be done, it should not be treated as a checklist, your loved ones should be attended to with loving care, ensuring they are comfortable and cared for.

Home Health Care

OneSource offers a variety of services to help your loved ones receive the care, and in many cases healing, they need. There are a number of health professionals ranging from many different disciplines to make sure that any problem that is presented to them can be handled. Nurses, CNA’s Dietitians, and more all work together to provide a quality experience for your loved ones.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care is care provided to those with serious pain and illness. If you have a loved one with a serious medical condition that is causing pain and distress, palliative care is a must when looking for home health care. OneSource, as mentioned before, has an army of medical professionals waiting to assist their patients. They can provide relief and comfort from the symptoms and pain of the health problem. Palliative care is not offered at every home care establishment, and it is a critical need for those with serious health conditions.

Hospice

There, unfortunately, come times when loved ones are living on borrowed time. Most have been through a lot, fighting disease or serious health conditions. OneSource provided quality hospice services, they will come and care for the needs of the patients. Hospice by definition is care for terminally-ill patients. One Source takes that to the next level by not just bring service, but genuine care and love to their patients.They even use multiple people with different skills and backgrounds to provide everything your loved one needs, from medial to spiritual to emotional.

There are many good options for home care, especially from a mental standpoint. Why settle for good, when you could have the bets? That is OneSource’s hallmark, providing top-quality service and care. They don’t just want to check boxes and get out, they want to love, care, and support your loved ones. You want the best for your loved ones, so do they. They won’t just treat them as patients, they treat them as family.

The Beneficial Anatomy of the Foot

foot

Feet are seriously one of our most useful non-vital body parts. They allow us to stand, walk and run. They provide a lot of incredible benefits. There are a number of people who are incredibly grossed out by feet, but even they would not want to part with one.

The anatomy of the foot is interesting as the different parts work together to provide both similar and unique functions. If we oversimplify the foot, we can group it into four main parts; the toes, arch, heel, and ankle. Ever wonder why your foot was designed the way it is?

Toes

Toes. Everyone else’s toes are gross it seems. Many people don’t even like their own. Toes provide essential balance function to the body. They allow us to distribute our weight evenly. Toes also enable us to run effectively by lengthening our foot and therefore our stride as well. Humans cannot run faster than most animals, but funnily enough, humans can outlast almost any animal in a distance run. This is in part due to the longer stride.

Downsides

Have you ever stubbed your toe? That will make you wish you didn’t have toes for a few minutes. Because toes are so small, they are easy to hurt and to break.

Another downside is their utility. Many mammals can use their feet and toes to grab things. Have you ever tried to grab something with your toes? It might kind of work, depending on what you are trying to do. Most of the time you just look weird.

Arch

Your foot is actually made up of three arches; the medial, lateral, and anterior traverse arch. The arches work together to provide flexibility and locomotion. Part of the reason you are able to walk and run is the flexibility the arches provide. Arches function as the shock absorbers in the body. You know those funny springs that are by your tires? They allow the frame of the car to bounce when a bump is hit instead of just slamming into the tires and ground. Your arches function like that. When weight comes down, your foot flattens and then returns to an arch shape when weight is released.

Downside

The arch can bear a lot of weight, but when it is hurt you will feel it. It could be something as simple as soreness from standing too long, or poor shoes causing the arch to flatten out a little. These small things can have a massive effect over time. If you have these issues or other foot problems, you need to see a doctor. There are lots of available treatments, just make the call!

Heel

The heel is the super tough back of your foot. It helps provide support for when you are standing up. It carries the bulk of the weight when you are standing, hence the tough, thick skin. The heel also works really well if you have to try and kick ice out of your tire wells.

Downside

Thick skin means deep pain. When the heel hurts, it really hurts. Plantar fasciitis is a common malady of the foot. It is essentially inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of your foot. It specifically causes pain by the heel. While very treatable, this can become worse with time and cause damage to your heel.

Ankle

The ankle is made up of the tibia, fibula, and the talus. It is the jack of all trades in the foot. It even supports body weight, assists with movement, increases agility and flexibility and allows for just about any other physical movement involving the feet.

Downsides

Ankles can easily be twisted and sprained. Ankle injuries can include injuries to the Achilles tendon, which almost always requires surgery. That bone that protrudes on your ankle? It is the bottom of the fibula, and when hit it is sure to drop you to the ground.

The foot serves many incredible and necessary functions. Our feet allow us to do so much. All they really need to be healthy is shoes and daily washing. It really is a great deal. The downsides listed are mostly facetious (jury is still out on the stubbed toe), as the occasional discomfort is well worth having an incredibly versatile and functional base for your body.