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What to do if you think you have Plantar Fasciitis?

What should I do if I suffer from heel pain?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common orthopedic conditions affecting people globally. All ages, except children, experience plantar fasciitis. If your child is experiencing heel pain, most likely it is not plantar fasciitis and it should be evaluated by a physician.

Plantar fasciitis can start suddenly or gradually. All it takes is one activity to start this painful condition. Plantar fasciitis is pain to the bottom of the heel and the hallmark or tell-tale sign you have it is pain to the bottom of your heel when you get out of bed or after sitting for a while. This symptom isn’t always present, but it is most of the time. The best treatment you can give yourself for this painful condition is to decrease the frequency or intensity of any activity that you think may have started it, such as running, hiking, CrossFit, basketball, pickleball, etc. I recommend that you begin a regimen of calf stretching 2-3 times per day and it is especially important to do so first thing in the morning. Massaging the bottom of your arch is also helpful prior to getting out of bed to reduce that ‘morning pain’. Icing is imperative and although most people get lazy about icing, it can be very helpful early on before it becomes chronic. Ice the heel twice a day, or more, for 15-20 minutes.

I believe the most helpful thing one can do to help themselves with plantar fasciitis is to wear good quality supportive shoes. I have been practicing for over 25 years and every summer the incidence of plantar fasciitis increases because of sandals and flip-flops. The choice of a good shoe can really make or break your bout with plantar fasciitis. Some of my recommended athletic shoe brands (in no particular order) are New Balance, Saucony, Brooks, Asics, Hoka, and Altra. If you can, put your casual flats, sandals, and unsupportive shoes in the closet for a while. If you need to wear boots for work, make sure you are purchasing a high-quality work boot with good arch support such as Vasque, Red Wing, Keen, or Danner brands.

Lastly, purchasing an over-the-counter arch support to place inside your shoe is an excellent option to further help reduce the stress on the plantar fascia. There are many arch supports on the market to choose from, and the simplest advice I can give is to purchase one that you cannot easily fold in half with your hand(s). An arch support that has some firmness to it is very important. Some recommended brands, to name just a few, that are well-priced are: Superfeet, Vasyli, Sole, and Protalus.

If your plantar fasciitis is not responding to the above recommendations and persists for longer than a month I recommend you make an appointment at Orthopedics at the Stuart Ave Clinic, 719-589-8091.

Dr Still

Gregory P. Still, DPM, is a Podiatrist and Foot/Ankle Surgeon at San Luis Valley Health.