Heel Pain


heel-painWhat is it?

Most often caused by an inflammation of the fibrous band that maintains the arch of the foot called the plantar fascia (in medical terms the condition is known as plantar fasciitis fah-shee-eye-tus).

What causes it?

Structural problems in the feet such as flat feet or high arches often result in arch pain Inflammation results as the plantar fascia is pulled away from where it attaches to the bones of your feet, particularly in the heel; this can eventually lead to a heel spur as the body inserts bone into the area in an attempt to repair itself where the plantar fascia is pulling away. Inflammation is made worse by activity, including walking. This is why it is important to seek treatment early to prevent the condition from becoming chronic.

Signs and Symptoms:

May begin as a dull pain in the heel and sometimes in the mid or forefoot. Pain may get sharper, more intense, and more persistent over time. Pain is usually worst after getting out of bed in the morning or following a prolonged period of rest. Visible swelling may be present in severe cases.

Prevention and Treatments:

Icing for ten minutes three times per day and/or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation during initial acute stage; heat therapy may be effective for chronic, longstanding cases.

Low dye strapping (taping) to help relieve stress on the plantar fascia.

Off-the-shelf arch supports for simple, non-severe problems.

Prescription custom orthotics to help correct structural foot problems causing the pain and other associated foot problems such as callus buildup and corns.

Possibly prescription custom footwear from your Chiropodist, depending on the severity of the structural foot problem.

Stretching exercises for your plantar fascia.


Examples of the kinds of exercises your Chiropodist may recommend:

Towel Curl

Place a towel on the floor. Curl the towel toward you, using only the toes of your injured foot. Resistance can be increased by placing a weight on the end of the towel. Perform this exercise 20 times.

Toe Taps

Lift all your toes off the floor and, while keeping your heel on the floor and the outside four toes in the air, tap just the big toe to the floor. Next you will change the order and tap the outside four toes to the floor a number of times while keeping the big toe in the air. Start with 10 taps and work up to 50 taps per session.

Calf Stretch

Lean against a wall with your back knee locked. Press forward until a stretch is felt in your calf muscle, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each calf.

Achilles Stretch

Lean against a wall. Gradually bend your back knee bent. until a stretch is felt in your Achilles tendon, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each foot.