Happy Spring! Heel pain is very common this time of year. Maybe you start putting the winter boots aside for different footwear, sandals or even flip flops. Or, maybe you are a runner and the nicer weather means more miles outside. Changes like footwear and more mileage equal changes in the tissues in the foot. This can often lead to pain, specifically, heel pain.
Heel pain can be debilitating. If can affect our day to day life and our run training. Treatment for heel pain is determined on the proper diagnosis. The two most common causes of heel pain are:
Heel Pad Syndrome presents as a deep ache in the middle of the heel. It may feel bruised. Walking barefoot or walking on hard surfaces like hardwood or ceramic tile will aggravate the pain.
Plantar Fasciitis presents as a sharp pain in the heel during the first few steps in the morning or after sitting for a prolonged period. Pain may lessen after the tissues are warmed up (ie: after walking/running for a few minutes). However, after a prolonged period of standing or activity the pain may worsen.
Treatment for Heel Pad Syndrome is simple; lots of cushioning and stay off your feet (easier said than done)! Cushioning can take different forms. Taping the heel is one of the best ways as it stabilizes the heel pad. Wear shoes with lots of cushion, or, add a gel pad in your current shoes. Comfort and cushion is the key!
Plantar Fasciitis treatment varies upon the person. It would include manual therapy by a Health Care Practitioner and some changes at home (such as sleeping with a specific kind of sock and rehab exercises).
If you find yourself with heel pain, our Practitioners can advise the proper diagnosis so you can get the proper treatment. The quicker your pain is resolved, the quicker you can get back to sandal season, or running more miles!