We see a lot of people coming into our clinic around this time of year complaining about a sharp pain in their heel. This pain is usually worse first thing in the morning when they step out of bed or standing after long periods of sitting. With so many people complaining about the same issue, it comes as no surprise there is a list of common reasons people get heel pain.
Do you answer yes to any of these questions?
- Do you get pain at the base of your heel when you get out of bed in the morning?
- Do you hobble around for the first few steps til it warms ups?
- Do you get pain when you first put your foot on the ground after prolonged sitting?
If you answered yes to any one or more of these questions it’s possible that you may have plantar fasciitis – don’t worry this is just the technical name for some micro-tears to the strong fibrous band (which is called the Plantar Fascia) that runs along the bottom of your foot, from your heel to the ball of your foot. Typically, this type of injury is most commonly found where the Plantar Fascia (the strong fibrous band with the fancy name) attaches to the heel.
Certain things may increase your risk of plantar fasciitis:
- Suddenly increasing the amount of exercise you normally do
- Wear poor fitting footwear (couldn’t resist those awesome boxing day sales!)
- Increasing your body weight
- Biomechanical issues that put the plantar fascia under strain
The reason you experience this sharp pain first thing in the morning (or after sitting down for a long period of time) is because the plantar fascia goes from a position of no pressure/stretch (like when you are lying down in bed) to bearing your whole body weight which forces the plantar fascia to stretch beyond what it has previously been accustomed to. Our patients commonly refer to this type of pain like stepping on a pin/bruise – it is sharp, sudden and localised to the heel of the foot.
Right now you may be thinking, “this is all great information, but what can be done to get rid of my heel pain now?” Glad you asked! In our next blog we will be discussing the range of effective treatments we can prescribe to effectively treat plantar fasciitis. With the right treatment plan, treating heel pain can be resolved much quicker than you think. If you are suffering from heel pain, you should seek the advice of a trained professional.