Heel Pain: Plantar Fasciitis
“My feet are killing me!”
“I want to go for a run but I’m going to pay for it later…”
“Those shoes make my feet hurt…there’s no way I can wear them all day.”
I’m sure we’ve heard or even said these phrases to ourselves at some point. Let’s not take heel pain for granted! There is a solution so let us offer it to you!
One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that attaches at the heel and extends to the ball of the foot. This band of fibers acts to reinforce the arch of the foot. When this ligament undergoes stress, it degenerates and causes pain.
There are many causes to plantar fasciitis. Some of the more common causes are:
- Improper shoes (for example: ballerina flats or flip flop sandals that provide no arch support)
- Tight calf muscles/achilles tendon
- Abnormal foot biomechanics (for example: flat feet)
- Strenuous physical activity (for example: marathon running or high intensity interval training)
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis begin gradually in the heel and can radiate into the arch. One of the most common symptoms is pain after rest. For example: getting out of bed in the morning or standing up from a seated position. As the condition progresses, the pain will begin to occur more frequently and even with routine activity.
90% of plantar fascia symptoms can be managed conservatively with a focused medical treatment program. A simple treatment program will focus on:
- Ice or anti-inflammatory medicine: reduce pain and swelling in the area of the heel
- Shoe modification: find shoes with better arch support, shock absorption, and heel height (there are many shoe brands where fashion and function can work together!)
- Orthotic devices: custom inserts to improve structural support
- Stretching exercises/Physical Therapy: focused achilles tendon, calf, and plantar fascia exercises to promote flexibility and improve muscle function
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT/EPAT): non-invasive procedure to promote healing using acoustic pressure waves
If you find yourself plagued with heel pain and it is affecting several aspects of your life, such as wearing shoes comfortably or maintaining an active/healthy lifestyle, come see one of our FASMA podiatrists for a focused treatment plan to help you get back on track!
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