If you get severe heel pain when walking it could be a sign that you are suffering from a common foot injury called plantar fasciitis!
Stress placed upon the plantar fascia ligament that supports the arch of your foot can result in plantar fasciitis which can cause mild to severe foot and heel pain. This foot injury is the result of degeneration over time of the plantar fascia ligament often triggered by bio-mechanical imbalances such as over pronation and supination placing abnormal load on the foot. Pain caused by plantar fasciitis can differ according to the amount of degeneration of the plantar fascia ligament that supports your arch.
Signs that you have plantar fasciitis
-Mild to severe heel or foot pain when walking which is usually worst in the morning as you take your first steps of the day.
-A small heel spurs on the side of your heel.
-The arch of your foot feels inflamed and tender when touched.
-In more severe cases you may also suffer from shin, knee, hip and lower back pain.
How bad can plantar fasciitis get?
Most people completely recover from plantar fasciitis within 12 months. Some treatments can speed up the recovery process. However, if the underlining causes of plantar fasciitis are not properly addressed this injury can worsen and in some cases become chronic resulting in severe foot and heel pain. Due to the fact that this condition can affect how your feet function and posture plantar fasciitis can also affect and cause injury to your lower limbs, knees, hips and lower back.
You can aid the recovery from plantar fasciitis via plenty of rest, firm and high quality footwear, wearing of heel pads, painkillers as well as exercise. Through thorough stretching and strengthening of the plantar fascia the ligament can gain flexibility and strength which will aid the muscles in supporting the arch of the foot which helps by reducing stress on the plantar fascia ligament thus reducing heel pain.
It is important to regularly stretch the Achilles tendon as well as the plantar fascia this is due to the fact that many people with plantar fasciitis have tight Achilles tendons. It is important to refer to a physiotherapist for guidance whilst exercising.
How do I avoid plantar fasciitis?
Firstly you should make it a habit of regularly changing shoes used for running or walking. Badly fitting or worn down shoes have a reduced ability to absorb the everyday shocks that come from walking on hard surfaces resulting in more damage to the plantar fascia.
It is important to buy a good arch support or a cushioning heel pad as they can prevent heel pain and add an extra degree of protection from harm. NuovaHealth supply excellent heel pads and arch supports designed to offer maximum prevention.
Lose weight if overweight. Being overweight adds more stress and strain on the ligaments and joints, especially in the foot that have to bare the heavy load. Less weight means fewer loads and more relief for said joints and ligaments.
Stretch the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon on a regular basis, before and after exercise.
Try to avoid exercising on hard flat surfaces.