Heel pain, often referred to as heel spurs or plantar fasciitis typically occurs in people with flat feet.

You're also more likely to be affected by heel pain if you're a woman, if you're overweight or you have a job demanding on your feet such as walking or long periods of standing.

Symptoms

Flare ups can be very painful, often each step causing an immediate shooting pain especially first thing in the morning, after rest or after prolonged exercise such as walking or jogging.

Causes & Treatment

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (fashee-EYE-tiss) is caused by inflammation or tension of the plantar fascia ligament connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes. Your sore heel in the morning is a result of the foot muscles tightening up overnight and accentuating the pull on the ligaments.

To avoid painful symptoms, people with flat feet should make an effort to wear support shoes with arch support or use orthotic insoles. As the arch starts collapse. the plantar fascia and the muscle in the bottom of the foot absorbs pressure and impact from walking or standing. Eventually this leads to the ligament stretching beyond its limits leading to muscle tears and bone spurs.

Recommended Treatments Include:

  • Use of a passive night splint that maintains the foot at an angle of 90 degrees or more to the ankle to prevent contraction of the plantar fascia while sleeping.
  • Using custom orthotics or insoles that support the arch and reduce tension on the ligament

  • Using an HTP Heel Pad or cushion to relieve pressure, absorb shock and reduce inflammation of the plantar and heel bone.

  • Applying an ice pack to the heel 15 to 20 minutes before going to bed, or try this neat "Heel Hugger" which is a sealed in gel / ice pad that you can wear inside your shoe for relief.

  • Stretching the Achilles tendon and calf muscle to reduce muscle tightness. Try this step stretch which stretches the foot in the proper position to relieve heel pain.

About 90 percent of people with plantar fasciitis improve significantly after two months of self treatment through stretching and orthotic support.

If heel pain is chronic and persists, see a podiatrist for specific heel pain treatment.