You wake up in the morning and you feel pretty good. But as you slide out of bed, put your feet on the floor, and stand up that pain you've been experiencing for the past month is still there.  You might be asking yourself, what did I do to cause this pain?

Heel pain has to be one of the most common complaints I get on a daily basis. Here are my answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about heel pain or plantar fasciitis.

What causes plantar fasciitis? After all, you are going about your work and play and one day it just starts.

Answer: Most frequently it doesn’t just “start”. It’s the result of accumulated stress on your plantar fascia, often over a long period of time, prior to the onset of your pain.

What things stress your plantar fascia?

Answer: Your weight, amount of time you spend on your feet, your foot type (high or low arches), tightness of your calf muscles, and your shoes.

What should you do when heel pain starts?

Answer: Begin your day by stretching your Achilles/calf muscle by pulling your foot toward your face with your knee straight, using a towel. Wear supportive shoes. If you wear heels, keep them lower than two inches, and avoid flats.  Also, try rest, ice, full length arch supports, and elevation of the affected foot. Finally, don’t go barefoot at home; that will put more stress on the plantar fascia.

Will I do more damage if I keep running or walking when heel pain starts?

Answer: Listen to your body. Your body is equipped with a wonderful mechanism to tell you when to stop. It’s an incredible sensory system with specific nerve fibers designed to sense pain. Pain is not normal. Pain occurs when the fibers of the plantar fascia have pulled too much on the heel bone( calcaneus) and they thicken. The fibers need to stop pulling too much, and the inflammation needs a chance to calm down. 

When do I need professional attention?

Answer: When you’ve googled it and schmoogled it, you’ve tried some of the basic common sense thingsmentioned above, and your heel pain persists have a podiatrist evaluate your feet.

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