One of the most common diagnoses of chronic heel pain is plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. This thick band of tissue can become inflamed causing a sharp pain; most commonly felt when the client stands first thing in the morning. In most cases, the pain subsides once the foot limbers up but then returns after long periods of standing or getting up after having been sitting with the weight off the feet for a prolonged period. Plantar fasciitis often affects people who regularly run, jog or walk (30 mins plus per day), especially on hard surfaces. Being overweight and badly fitting footwear, worn-out running shoes, or long periods spent standing whilst wearing high heels may also be a factor.
What’s causing the pain and inflammation?
Under normal circumstances, the plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorber to support the arch in your foot. When the tension on the shock-absorber becomes too great, it can create small tears in the fascia. Over time, the repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated and inflamed.
Don’t ignore it!
Many people tend to try to ignore the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, especially as the pain often subsides after a few minutes of walking around. What happens in these situations is that people sometimes train themselves to walk slightly differently in order to take the pressure off the heel and thereby minimize the pain until it subsides. This in turn may lead to the development of other foot, knee, hip or back problems. Remember, in most cases plantar fasciitis can be effectively treated with a combination of trigger point therapy, strengthening, stretching, and taping.