‘My first 10 to 15 steps in the morning are agony. It almost feels like my heels are stepping on little knife blades. The pain reduces a lot as the day goes on but never completely goes away.’
If this describes you, it is possible that you have plantar fasciitis which can result in very painful heel spurs.
Heel pain is at its worst first thing in the morning or after you have been sitting for a long period of time. When your feet are at rest (i.e. not bearing weight) for a long period of time, the muscles and ligaments shorten and tighten. Then, when you stand up and start walking, the ligament connecting the front and back of your feet is ‘stiff’ resulting in sharp pain in the heel. As you continue to walk the ligament warms up and the sharp pain reduces to a dull pain or disappears. The sharp pain may return, however, if you walk or stand for a long period of time.
Plantar fasciitis has many causes including:
- Over-use – Especially standing or walking for long periods of time
- Age – Our ligaments shorten and tighten and our muscles weaken as we age
- Incorrect footwear – Unsupportive footwear or walking barefoot on hard surfaces
- Weight gain – Extra weight will place pressure on ligaments. This can be the cause in pregnant women
- Over pronation, low arch or flat feel
Are you sick of that pain in your heel?
Talk to a podiatrist at The Podiatry Room. He/she will ask questions about the type of activities you engage in, assess the structure of your feet and the way you walk. They will take time to explain what can be done but also why you have the pain.