Expert Health Articles

Is Heel Pain Slowing You Down?

Now that summer is here, and the weather is nice, have you found yourself suffering from a bout of heel pain? Specifically, is the pain worse first thing when you get up in the morning? If so, you may be suffering from a common foot condition known as plantar fasciitis. This common foot ailment will affect 1 in 10 people during their lifetime and is more common in women than men. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that extends from the heel to the toes. Its purpose is to provide support to the arch and provide shock absorption when standing and ambulating. Inflammation and irritation of this tissue is often the cause of plantar heel pain.


There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Sudden changes in activity such as a new walking or running program, changes in shoe gear, age (most common in those 30-60 years old), obesity and prolonged standing can all lead to plantar fasciitis. Luckily, there are some simple at-home treatments that can really help improve your symptoms. These include stretching of the Achilles tendon, icing the heel or rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle and wearing good supportive shoes. Sometimes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, is needed to help reduce the inflammation in the foot as well.


While plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, there could be other problems causing the pain you are experiencing. Ligament tears, heel spurs, stress fractures, pinched nerves or other boney abnormalities can also cause pain to the same area. So, if you find yourself limping in the morning, it’s best to get an appointment with your podiatrist to see exactly what the cause is. Then, they can help formulate a treatment plan that will be best fitted for you and your lifestyle.


Alison Niemeyer, DPM


Podiatry Specialists of Northwest Ohio