If you suffer from heel pain, you are not alone. “My heel hurts” is one of the most common complaints that a podiatrist hears. Ask around and you may be surprised to find how many of your friends, neighbors, and co-workers are also living with heel pain.
One of the most common causes of painful heels is a problem called plantar fasciitis. It is pronounced “PLAN-tar fash-ee-EYE-tus”. Plantar fasciitis is an irritation or inflammation or other problem with the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a strong ligament-like tissue that attaches to the heel. The plantar fascia helps support the arch of the foot.
Often there are sharp pains when getting out of bed in the morning and on getting up after periods of sitting. As this foot problem continues, the pain can become more constant and heel spurs may also develop. Sometimes plantar fasciitis is called heel spur syndrome.
Usually plantar fasciitis is seen in middle-age but it can be seen at much younger ages, especially in more active individuals.
What causes my heel pain?
Some causes may include:
- Excessive pronation when standing and walking. “flat feet”
- Tight calf muscles.
- Standing, for long periods of time on hard surfaces.
- Excess weight.
- Beginning a new running or exercise program.
- Worn out shoes.
What can I do to help my heel pain?
The following represent a few ideas that often can help those suffering with heel pain. If your pain remains in spite of the following treatments, you should see a doctor:
- Wear shoes with good support and wear them in the house as well.
- Try ice to the heel daily to help decrease inflammation.
- Stretch your calf at least four times a day for two to four minutes each time.
How long will it take for the pain to go away?
The plantar fascia usually takes a few months to heal completely but with treatment you may feel better much sooner. In most cases surgery can be avoided.
Usually, the sooner treatment is started the easier plantar fasciitis is to resolve and the sooner you can be back to your normal life and activity.