It's important to understand the pain you're feeling so it doesn't lead to even bigger problems.
Heel pain is the most common problem that affects the foot and ankle. While a sore heel can go away on its own with rest, ignoring your symptoms and continuing to do the activities that caused it can lead to bigger problems. So it's important to understand the type of pain you're feeling and take care of your feet for the long run. Here's what to know about plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain. Find out how to help relieve your pain and when you may want to see a doctor.
About 2 million people are treated for plantar fasciitis every year. This condition happens when your plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that connects to your heel, becomes irritated and inflamed.
Plantar fasciitis may feel like a pain in the bottom of your foot under the heel. You may feel this when:
- You take your first steps in the morning – this pain may be very sharp.
- You have been standing for a long period.
- You stand after sitting for a long period.
- After exercising.
This thick band of tissue (plantar fascia, to be specific) is made to absorb a lot of the pressure we put on our feet. But when it's put under too much pressure, it stretches and pulls on its attachment to the heel, which can damage or cause small tears to occur where the fascia attaches to the heel. The inflammation of the heel area that follows is what leads to the heel pain.
While there may not be a specific cause of plantar fasciitis, there are a few things that could make you more prone to developing the condition:
- Tight calf muscles that make it difficult to flex your foot
- High arches
- Flat feet
- Repetitive impact activity (like running, hiking, dancing)
- New or increased activity
- Age (most common between 40 and 60)
- Jobs that keep you on your feet (like factory work or teaching)
You can help reduce your pain from plantar fasciitis by:
- Applying ice for 15 minutes, three to four times a day.
- Doing stretches for your plantar fascia and calf muscles.
- Including low-impact exercises in your fitness routine.
- Wearing supportive shoes (and ditching your worn-out athletic shoes).
- Wearing orthotic shoe inserts that help distribute pressure and provide arch support
Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts are an over-the-counter option for cushioned support that is matched for your unique foot geometry with three customized layers:
Cushion Layer with soft top cloth helps reduce foot pressure with each step, as well as the shock to your heel from hitting the ground.
3D Arch Support fits the shape of your arch and foot length to help prevent stretching of the plantar fascia and help you move pain-free throughout your day.
Contoured Heel Support protects the inflamed area from further irritation for immediate all-day pain relief.
Get your own pair of inserts at a Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit® Kiosk inside Walmart and CVS. Over 2,000 pressure sensors create a unique FootMap of your feet and in just 90 seconds shows you the orthotic that's right for you (based on your arch type, foot length and pressure points).
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
See your doctor about your heel pain if:
- There is severe pain or swelling near your heel.
- You can't bend your foot forward, stand on your toes or walk normally.
- You also have fever and numbness or tingling in your heel.
- There is severe pain immediately after an injury.
- The pain continues when you're sitting or lying down.
- The pain lasts more than a few weeks, even after you tired home remedies.