When you experience discomfort or pain in the heel the most common cause is plantar fasciitis.

This condition is often referred to as heel spur syndrome.

There are other potential causes of heel pain, a list that includes stress fractures, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation and on occasion a cyst.

Looking at the major cause of heel pain, that being plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the band of tissue – the plantar fascia, that extends from the toes to the heel. The irritation and subsequent inflammation of the fascia is generally the result of a faulty foot structure, which in most cases emanating from problems with the foot arch.

One of the most common stimulants to this foot problem is the wearing of non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces. This puts added puts added pressure on the plantar fascia which may then lead on to plantar fasciitis.

For those experiencing heel pain or plantar fasciitis the following symptoms will be familiar:

  • Pain on the bottom of the heel
  • Pain in the arch of the foot
  • Pain in the foot that is usually heightened when you arise in the morning
  • Pain in the foot region that increases over a period of months
  • Swelling on the bottom of the heel

With plantar fasciitis the pain is often worse first thing in the morning or after you’ve been sitting for some time. Once you get moving, though, the pain tends to decrease as the act of walking stretches the fascia. However, if you then spend many hours on your feet the pain discomfort can return.

Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis by a podiatrist is very apparent following a physical examination. Based on the level of severity an appropriate treatment program can be undertaken. For most cases of plantar fasciitis, a non-surgical approach will provide the relief that is required.

Non-surgical treatments include:

  • Select more appropriate footwear that, provide good arch support with a slightly raised heel that reduces the pressure placed on the plantar fascia.
  • Avoid going barefoot as this can put undue strain and stress on the plantar fascia due to the lack of arch support
  • Reduce some of the activities that involve standing or walking so that your heel gets a rest
  • Engaging in stretching exercises that extend the calf muscle will help to ease any pain whilst speeding the recovery process
  • A custom made orthotic device fitted to the shoe may assist by helping to correct the underlying structural abnormalities that are causing the plantar fasciitis

In deciding on the most appropriate treatment process your podiatrist will most likely encourage the wearing of supportive shoes, the engaging in regular stretching, using custom orthotic devices to achieve a long-term outcome for plantar fasciitis.

Contact Bentley Podiatry today for more information.