Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain
Heel pain is common, but can be very painful and often long-lasting. The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which is when a band of tissues in the foot becomes inflamed, thickened and/or damaged.
The plantar fascia is the band of tissue in the sole of the foot that connects the heel bone with the bones of the foot. It also acts as a shock absorber. Damage can occur suddenly or can build up gradually over months or even years. The plantar fascia can thicken, and the tissue surrounding the heel bone can become inflamed, often causing pain when any weight is put on it.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
- Heel pain when weight bearing.
- Pain often worse first thing in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- Walking can help at first, but then gradually makes the pain worse.
- REST is the most important course of treatment. If you start doing too much, too soon, you'll be back to square one! Try to stay off the foot as much as possible for a couple of weeks, but still stay active to avoid the risk of DVTs.
- Stretching exercises are hugely beneficial. Stretching is important once inflammation has been reduced ( I.e. Following icing, rest etc and a reduction in the pain). Your local podiatrist can give you specific calf and plantar fasciitis exercises to do.
- Regular use of an icepack to the affected heel/s should aid recovery.
- Pain relief and anti-inflammatories should be used to ease both pain and inflammation.
- Good quality, well-fitting shoes should be worn with cushioning soles.
- Orthotic Insoles can be used as recommended by your podiatrist. These can be especially useful for people with recurring plantar fasciitis.
- Wear good, comfy, well fitting shoes.
- Avoid being overweight.
- Stretch regularly, especially the calf & foot muscles.
- Wear orthotic insoles if necessary.
- Some people with recurring plantar fasciitis find low/medium heeled shoes help (not flat shoes or high heels).
Disclaimer: This information should be used as supplementary information only. Advice should be sought from your GP or qualified podiatrist.
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