Do you suffer from Heel Pain?
You are not alone! Currently it is estimated that 2 million Americans develop heel pain every year, and approximately 10% of all people will experience heel pain during their lifetime.
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, an irritation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is made up of 3 thick bands of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot and helps lift your arch and get your foot ready to push off to take another step.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by weight gain, change in activity level (increased distance of running or walking), a change in shoe wear (i.e. walking around with unsupportive flip-flops all summer), or poor walking mechanics. However, it is often hard to pin down one specific cause.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may include heel pain that is worse with your first few steps in the morning, and/or after sitting for a prolonged period, and may decrease after walking or running. Numbness, tingling, and burning are NOT associated with plantar fasciitis.
What Can a Physical Therapist do to help me?
Since heel pain is so common, many people are misdiagnosed with plantar fasciitis when there may be another source of their symptoms. This could explain why treatment directed at planter fasciitis (calf stretching, rolling your foot on a frozen water bottle, changing shoes, etc.) may not make your pain go away. If you experience numbness, tingling, or even burning pain in your heel or foot that is worse the longer you are on your feet, you may actually have an entrapment of a nerve. Nerves run from the spine out to every area of the body and can affect your strength and sensation. They can become irritated or entrapped both in your foot and/or higher up the chain in your low back.
The Physical Therapists at Specialized Physical Therapy can help you determine the true cause of your heel pain and the best way to treat it. In general a combination of both hands on treatment and an individualized exercise program will help you get back to your full potential.