If you are waking up with acute pain at your heel, then mostly you are suffering from plantar fascitis. This is one of the most common foot problems. Many times pain is very severe & disabling.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis (plantar fasciosis) is inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a strong
bowstring-like ligament that runs from the calcaneum (heel bone) to the tip of the foot. When the plantar fasciia is stretched it results micro tear of soft tissue fibers, usually where it attaches to the heel bone.
Sometimes the problem may occur in the middle of the foot. The patient experiences pain under the foot, especially after long periods of rest. If inflammation persists for longer duration it can lead to calcaneal spur.
Plantar fascitis is not usually caused by a single injury, such as a twist or fall, but rather the result of repetitive stress and pounding of the heel. Still following factors play important role in increasing severity of plantar fascitis.
- Arch type: Flat feet, High arch or in between
- Footwear:Wearing too flat or too high heel footwear
- Lifestyle: continuous standing, walking or running
- Body weight: Overweight results in more stress on plantar fascia
- Osteoporosis: Weak bones will aggravate pain more
Podiatrist/Foot doctor is the right person to diagnose & treat the heel pain. Assessment should include detailed history, lifestyle evaluation, detail assessment of foot arches & gait. Real skill is to identify the toot cause & treat it.
- Rest: Temporary rest is important to allow plantar fascia to heal
- Cold pack: Helps to reduce inflammation.
- Right orthotics: To support your plantar fascia & correct your faulty alignment.
- Supportive shoes: Orthotics with proper supportive shoe gives long term relief
What to avoid:
- Bare feet walking on hard surfaces
- Wearing too flat or too high heeled footwear
- Heel Cushions: Silicone or foam heel cushions commonly available from pharmacies do nothing to actually cure this condition and at best provide temporary comfort.