Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

Heel pain is one of the leading causes that patients visit Affiliated Podiatrists. Plantar fasciitis (or heel pain) is commonly traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Dr. Roesen and Dr. Wolfson can evaluate your arch pain, and may prescribe customized shoe inserts called orthotics to help alleviate the pain you are experiencing.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the connective tissue that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Also called “heel spur syndrome” the condition can usually be successfully treated with conservative measures such as use of anti-inflammatory medications and ice packs, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, and physical therapy.

If you have been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, we have included information below about your diagnosis along with treatment suggestions. Please do not hesitate to call our offices if you have any questions.

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes. It can become inflamed at the heel area if too much stress is put on the tissue. Usually, the pain will be the greatest with the first steps in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time and walking again. People with high-arched feet and flat feet are more prone to this problem.

The key to treatment for plantar fasciitis is first decreasing the inflammation through a local injection of cortisone or an anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin. The second step is support which can include a good running shoe, arch support, and sometimes a heel cup, all of which will decrease the stress on the fascia and increase the shock absorption for the foot. Sometimes it is necessary to further control the motion of the foot and take the stress off the plantar fascia with arch supports or orthotics (Rx arch supports). An orthotic is a special device that is made for your foot that supports the arch and allows the foot to function better. Other treatments may include night splints, physical therapy and ice. Surgery is an option as well, but only if these other treatment options are not effective. If you have been given an injection, remember that the heel can be sore for several days afterwards. You should plan to limit or change your activity for the next several weeks.

Suggestions:

  1. Stretching the muscles in the back of your leg is very important and may help. If you do this every morning it may help relieve the pain of those first few steps. When you stretch, remember to hold the stretch for ten seconds and do this ten times.
  2. Do not walk barefoot – wear supportive shoes whenever possible.
  3. Running shoes will provide the most support and cushion for your feet and are great for everyday activities. (Some examples are Nike, New Balance, Saucony, and Asics) These can be purchased at Sports Authority or other athletic shoe stores, some of which are listed below.
  4. If you were given an anti-inflammatory RX medication, take as directed with food and discontinue if your stomach gets upset. Aleve (two pills, two times daily) and Advil (three pills, three times daily) are available without a prescription and may help.
  5. Ice the heel after a lot of activity or at the end of the day. You can roll a frozen bottle of water under the arch also. This helps with inflammation and is very important in helping to resolve your heel pain. Do not use heat at the end of the day.

Recommended Stretches

  • Plantar Fascia Stretch – Keeping back leg straight, foot on stair, reach for bottom step with heel until a stretch is felt through the arch of the foot.
  • Gastroc Muscle Stretch – Keeping back leg straight, spine straight, with heel on floor and turned slightly outward, lean into the wall until a stretch is felt in the calf.
  • Soleus Muscle Stretch – Standing with both knees bent, spine straight, and the involved foot back, gently lean into the wall until stretch is felt in the lower calf.

Running Shoes

There are 3 types of running shoes, you can use the list as a guide (some shoes are only available in running stores) but you should always look for a name brand shoe with a removable insole.

  • Motion Control Shoes – For low-arched or flat feet.
  • Stability Shoes – Neutral/normal-arched feet – majority of people.
  • Cushioned Shoes – For high-arched feet only.

Return to Foot and Ankle Topics

© Copyright 2010-2017 Affiliated Podiatrists, P.C.
Newport News Podiatrists | Hampton Podiatrists | Carrollton Podiatrists
Podiatry Website Design by PodiatristSites.com