Morning heel pain – Sydney Podiatrist David Wong discusses

plantar-fascia_13Do you ever wake up with severe heel pain, especially when you take your first few steps out of bed in the morning? Commonly, heel pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia. This is a ligament, a tough band of tissue that supports the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to the balls of your feet and your toes. The stabbing or burning pain of plantar fasciitis is usually worse in the morning because the fascia tightens overnight. You may find that the pain can reduce and become more tolerable after your foot has warmed up with a bit of walking or exercising, however it usually returns after an hour or so later?

Cause:

The most common cause of Plantar fasciitis is over pronation ( feet rolling inward too much). This in turn is usually associated with a tight calf muscle placing added stress through the Plantar fascia.

This complaint is common in long-distance runners because running can place too much stress on your heel bone and the soft tissue attached to it. Wearing old, worn-out running shoes or ones that lack arch support could be be a factor. Having flat feet or high arches may also cause added stress. High-heeled shoes can also be lead to plantar fasciitis because they make your Achilles tendon contract and shorten, which puts strain on the tissue around your heel.

A commonly overlooked cause of heel pain is poor posture. Forward head posture and rounded shoulders, by throwing your body weight forward places excessive stress and strain on the structures of the feet and lower legs.

Treatment:

Rest is the best form of treatment, however as we need our feet to walk and weight bear on, this is hardly practical in most situations. You’ll want to decrease your miles until the pain subsides, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising completely. Swap swimming or bicycling for running. You’ll likely be able to return to running as the pain gradually improves or disappears. For self-care treatment, you can hold a cloth-covered ice pack (some frozen peas wrapped in a towel) over the area of pain for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day or after activity. Stretching your plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles may also provide relief.

Applying pressure to your heel by rolling a golf ball or tennis ball with the arch of your foot while you are standing and stabilized can help stretch the plantar fascia. This can help reduce pain and increase blood flow.

If self-treatment doesn’t work, then try shockwave treatment and/or orthotics from your podiatrist. Shockwave is a new treatment that has been extremely efficient in treating the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. It’s quick, and cost effective. Custom made orthotics and postural correction act as the treatment as well as preventative medicine. They can reduce the stressful forces in the feet that cause these problems, helping your feet function more efficiently thereby addressing the underlying cause of arch and heel pain.

If you need help with ongoing heel pain please contact me at Better Health on 02 9518 0722 for further advice.

 

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