My Heel Hurts!

By Meri Mayes It felt like I had a splinter stuck in my heel. Unfortunately it was a strange, but familiar pain that I experienced over four years earlier when I was six months pregnant with my oldest daughter. It was at its worst when I stepped out of bed in the morning, but it continued aching throughout the day causing a lovely limp and hampering physical activity.

It was the irritating return of a common foot issue, Plantar Fasciitis (affectionately referred to as PF)....

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia defines Plantar fasciitis as the inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.

Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:
  • Foot arch problems (both flat feet and high arches)
  • Obesity or sudden weight gain
  • Long-distance running, especially downhill or on uneven surfaces
  • Tight Achilles tendon (tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel)
  • Shoes with poor arch support or soft soles

The only way to determine if you have PF is to have an examination by a physical therapist or physician. He or she can evaluate your arches and look at foot tenderness, swelling, and tightness. This time, I didn't delay in getting treatment, so instead of having lingering pain for months, my PF was virtually gone in a few days.

To get things cleared up so quickly, I did exercises prescribed by my physical therapist; wore supportive shoes for the entire day (especially first thing in the morning); iced my foot daily (a frozen bottle of water works perfectly); and used a special Fasciitis Night Splint at night (to help stretch the plantar fascia).

After three weeks, I'm even feeling good enough to wear "real" shoes again. Hooray for high heels!!