Experiencing foot pain? Check in with your doctor

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If your feet hurt the second you get out of bed in the morning, it's likely you have a condition that afflicts millions of Americans.

If your feet hurt the second you get out of bed in the morning, it's likely you have a condition that afflicts millions of Americans.

Just starting to walk put Bernetta Hardy in pain.

"The pain level I was having was a 10," Hardy said.

Hardy's foot pain got to the point where her entire lifestyle was impacted.

"When you can't do activities, when you can't go in the kitchen and cook 'cause you can't walk on that ankle foot, you need to go ahead immediately and get help," she said.

Hardy was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. It's a condition that affects the thick band of tissue between your heel and your toes. Nearly 10 percent of the population suffers from plantar fasciitis - resulting in more than 1 million doctor visits per year.

But Dr. Zachary Farley says the numbers are on the rise because more of us are spending time on our backside instead of our feet.

"I have noticed a slight increase in plantar fasciitis as our population becomes more sedentary, and plantar fasciitis does have a link between sedentary lifestyles and the increase in incidence," said Farley.

Women and people over the age of 40 are most at risk, especially if they're overweight.

But the condition can also strike those who are very athletic or on their feet a lot.
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Farley says it can also be caused by the shoes you wear, like high heels and those with little support.

"The plantar fascia ligament is slightly responsible for maintaining the arch of your foot. And so, wearing proper shoe gear is of the utmost importance," said Farley.

Treatment can include physical therapy, stretching, night splints, over-the-counter medicine, steroid shots and surgery as a last resort.

Hardy's scheduled for surgery now and finally sees a cure in her future.

"I am looking forward to being able to go to the park and walk and having a true life and being active again," she said.

The American Podiatric Medical Association says "Foot pain is never normal." And if you're having a problem, see your doctor. The APMA suggests scheduling a visit to see a podiatrist for an annual check-up.
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