Heel pain can occur after prolonged periods of walking or strenuous exercise,
especially on hard surfaces without shoes or with poor support.
However, plantar fasciitis is more often a wear-and-tear-type injury.
Within the arches of our feet, there is a thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia.
This tissue is attached to the bottom of our heels, which bears much of our body weight.
With time this tissue becomes chronically inflamed, leading to heel pain.
One often under-recognized cause of plantar fasciitis is tight calves.
As we move down the leg, our calf muscles become the Achilles tendon,
which attaches to the heel bone, and continues into the foot as the plantar fascia.
When our calves are chronically tight, it makes the Achilles tendon and plantar
fascia more prone to injury or chronic inflammation.
Some of the more common symptoms may include pain under the heel after prolonged
walking or standing. The pain may be especially worse upon awakening in the morning
or after prolonged sitting.
The treatment of plantar fasciitis rarely involves surgery.
However it is important to know that heel pain rarely completely “goes away.”
With the treatments I discuss, our goal is to help minimize the pain to a level
that does not interfere with our daily activities or our quality of life.
The mainstay of treatment is stretching of the calf or Achilles.
This helps to keep the plantar fascia “loose” and less prone to inflammation.
Stretching should be done at least two to three times a day.