PAIN IN THE HEEL IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON COMPLAINTS I SEE. IN FACT, ACCORDING TO STUDIES, OVER 2 MILLION PEOPLE SUFFER WITH THIS CONDITION YEARLY. WHY IS IT SO COMMON? IS IT BECAUSE WE ARE AN ACTIVE SOCIETY AND PUT TOO MUCH STRESS ON OUR FEET? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS YES, BUT THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN THAT.
The type of heel pain I am referring to is the pain someone would feel on the bottom of their heel (Pain in the back of the heel is a whole different condition.) Pain on the bottom of the heel usually is present when you first step out of bed. It is also present when you get up after sitting for a while or after you have been on your feet for a while.
This condition is usually a strain and inflammation of a large ligament that attaches to the heel bone. The strain can come from overuse, excessive weight, or wearing unsupportive shoes. There is a specific foot structure and movement of the foot that predisposes one to the strain. If your arches are flat, or if you like to go without shoes around the house, or just wear shoes that are flat, you are at a higher risk for developing this condition.
Heel pain can happen to all age groups. Whether you are male or female, big or small, sit or stand at work, you could be at risk. People who stand all day such as nurses and teachers have a greater risk of developing pain in the heel. If you stand all day in shoes that are flat and your arches are flatter than normal, your chance of developing heel pain dramatically increases.
Treatment of heel pain can be very easy or quite challenging. It usually depends on how soon someone with the problem decides to seek professional help. Unfortunately, the average time it takes for someone to consult a specialist like myself is three months. If treated within one month, most heel pain can be eliminated in one or two visits. Waiting longer than a month to be treated, increases the risk of developing a dreaded condition that involves scar tissue formation.
There are several things you can do to help prevent heel pain. (1) Wear shoes or supportive sandals at home rather than going barefoot. (2) Keep your weight under control. (3) Wear high-quality athletic shoes such as New Balance, Brooks, or Asics when exercising or standing a lot.
If you are experiencing pain in your heel don’t wait another day to come in and get it treated. The solution is easier to achieve the earlier the pain is addressed.