Ouch! What’s that pain on my heel?

Have you noticed that your heel is more painful since you’ve been home due to Covid? Did you stop wearing your shoes as you’ve been inside your home? There are many different reasons that can result in a painful heel such as stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation; however, the most common cause is Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (plantar fascia ligament) that originates from the heel and extends to the toes. Irritation and inflammation of the fascia can result in heel pain.

The most common causes of plantar fasciitis are the biomechanics; structure and function, of your foot. For example, people who have either overly flat feet or high-arched feet are prone to develop this condition. Wearing Nonsupportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can result in plantar fasciitis. Obesity and overuse may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.

The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the heel, pain in the arch of the foot, pain that is usually worse upon arising, pain that increases over a period of months, swelling on the bottom of the heel. People usually describe the pain as worse when they get up in the morning or after they have been sitting for long periods of time. Pain decreases after few minutes of walking because it stretches the fascia.

Visit our foot and ankle surgeons to arrive at a proper diagnosis. We will obtain your medical history and examine your foot to rule out all possible causes for your heel pain other than plantar fasciitis. In addition, further imaging, such as x-rays or other imaging modalities, such as ultrasound and MRI, may be used to distinguish the different types of heel pain.

Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, which can begin at home and include stretching exercises, calf stretches; avoid going barefoot; using an ice pack to reduce inflammation; limit activities; NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation; shoe modifications. Our doctors will provide you with a list of proper athletic shoe recommendations.

If the pain persists, see your foot and ankle surgeon, for orthotic devices, injection therapy, removable walking cast, physical therapy or to discuss surgical options if necessary, for chronic pain.

It does not matter what kind of treatment option you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying cause of the condition, your foot type, may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventative measures such as wearing supportive shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices for the long-term treatment of plantar fasciitis.