Heel Pain

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

This type of pain is usually on the bottom of the heel but can occur on the entire bottom of the foot. The heel will hurt when you stand, especially the first few steps in the morning. The pain might continue during the day, depending on activity.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a band of tough tissue, kind of like a thick rubber band, on the bottom of the foot. The band of tissue, called fascia, starts on the ball of the foot at the base of the toes and extends all the way back and attaches to the heel bone. With excessive stress on the foot, this rubber band type fascia gets strained. The weakest part of this fascia is near the attachment to the heel bone and that is where most of the pain occurs. However, there may be soreness on the entire sole of the foot.

Definition of Plantar Fasciitis

  • Plantar: bottom of the foot.
  • Fascia: rubber band type tissue that extends from the heel to the toes.
  • -itis: inflammation or swelling.

So, Plantar Fasciitis means, inflammation of a rubber band type tissue on the bottom of the foot.

What Makes Plantar Fasciitis Worse?

The foot needs more support so, obviously, unsupportive shoes make it hurt worse.

What to Avoid

  • Walking barefoot or just wearing socks in the house.
  • Flip flops and crocs.
  • Dress flats, for women.
  • Worn out, loose athletic shoes and work boots.
  • Soft slippers.
  • “minimalist” athletics shoes.
  • Being on your feet more than normal.

What Can I Do to Make Plantar Fasciitis Feel Better?

  • Wearing good supportive running shoes will help tremendously. Brands such as Asics, Mizuno and Brooks are highly recommended. Note that we recommend a running shoe, not a walking or casual athletic shoe. Running shoes are more supportive and lighter weight than a walking shoe. Also, avoid any “minimalist” running shoes.
  • Wear the running shoe at all times in the house. No more walking barefoot at home. Get a new pair that you only wear at home to keep the carpet clean.
  • Ladies shoes and boots with a heel are better than flats. A 1- 1 ½ inch heel is good.
  • Cowboy boots and work boots with a heel lift are good also.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine like Ibuprofen, Advil and Aleve might also be beneficial. It is best to check with your doctor before taking these pills because there might be side effects or other drug interactions. An anti-inflammatory pill by itself will not cure the problem, but will help your foot recover faster when combined with good, supportive shoes.

Will Heel Pads and Cushions Work?

We have not found much benefit to heel pads and cushions for Plantar Fasciitis. It seems to make sense that if your heel hurts then more cushioning would be the cure. However, this is NOT so. The foot and heel actually need more firm support, not pads and cushions.

Tell Me About Orthotics

Prescription orthotics are the #1 most beneficial treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. These are custom made prescription devices made to fit in your shoe, kind of like prescription glasses for poor eyesight. You can switch orthotics from shoe to shoe and one set will last you many years.

Custom orthotic treatment

Does the Heel Spur on the Bottom of the Foot Cause Pain?

No! The spur does not cause pain and the heel spur does not need to be removed. The heel spur is caused by the pulling of the Plantar Fascia where it attaches to the heel bone. The constant pulling and inflammation of the fascia tells your body that there is too much stress on the bottom of the heel bone. Your body recognizes a problem so it starts to grow more bone in response to the stress.

What Else Can be Done by the Doctor for Heel Pain?

Some people with Plantar Fasciitis get better right away and some people don’t. Everybody responds differently. If changing of shoes, orthotics and the use of an anti-inflammatory medicine doesn’t work than other treatments are required. This includes physical therapy, injections and surgery.

Michael's surgery testimonial

Teresa Wagler TestimonialHow Does Surgery Help Heel Pain?

We never recommend surgery right away for heel pain. This is because 80-90% of the time conservative care is successful to stop the pain. However, if surgery is done for heel pain, it is usually very successful. If you need it, then get it done! The procedure takes 15-20 minutes to complete and is done as an outpatient procedure. There is no need to stay in the hospital. You go home right away with a soft, fluffy bandage on your foot.

“The orthotics are awesome and make my feet feel great. No pain at all anymore. Thank you Dr. Powers!” – David CarrDavid testimonial

“Dr. Powers diagnosed my problem as a pinched nerve in my foot. I was in a lot of pain every day of my life before I was operated on. Three weeks after surgery I am fractionally pain free. My foot is still healing and with everyday it just keeps getting better and better. I am so happy Dr. Powers fixed my problem and I would recommend him to anyone with foot/ankle problems. The staff is also helpful and friendly every time I go in. Thank you Dr. Powers and staff!” -Jenny T.

Jenny T. Testimonial

 

“I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in the fall. After trying physical therapy, it was apparent I needed surgery. Dr. Powers and his staff were very kind and compassionate every visit. They answered all of my questions and my surgery was a success. Although the healing process is slow, the difference is divine. I also had 2 very painful corns removed from each 4th toe. I would do it all again for the relief I feel now. Thank you so much Dr. Powers and staff. You are highly recommended in my book!!”  —Lisa M. Barlow

 

“I came to see Dr. Powers and his staff two months ago with severe heel pain and within the two months my pain has gone away due to the great care of Dr. powers and staff. I had ordered orthotics and they feel wonderful. Thanks for the care and warm friendly service and making me pain free while walking. I feel wonderful !! Thanks again. ” – Bonnie H.

Bonnie testimonial

 

“The care of the doctor and his staff was great. The inserts have deleted all of my pain and what I do have continues to lessen daily. Thank  you!!” -Peter P.

Peter testimonial

 

“The care at Dr.Powers was great. Just 2 visits at Dr.Powers and the heel pain was gone.” -Dennis Grogan

Dennis testimonial