Tis' the Season for Heel Pain

Finally, our Australian summer has arrived! We kick off the work shoes, trading our normal day-to-day supportive footwear for thongs, sandals or bare feet.

After a few days or weeks you begin to wonder why your heels hurt. A lack of shoe support is one of the main reasons heel pain is the most prevalent condition walking into our clinic over the summer months.

Our senior podiatrist, Kirstine Mann says “Wearing thongs, walking barefoot or increasing the level of outdoor physical activity, such as running is often the cause of heel pain. By neglecting and ignoring one of the hardest working parts of our body, we have the ability to place greater stress on our heels, causing unnecessary heel pain, known as plantar fasciitis.”

Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury affecting the sole (plantar) of the foot. It occurs in the ligament tissue (fascia) that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes when it becomes inflamed and pulls when you step.

“Heel pain is not something you should continue to simply ‘put up with’ as many people do. The longer you leave it, the longer it takes to repair”, says Kirstine.

Some people are more predisposed to develop plantar fasciitis than others with age (middle- aged people, between 40 and 60) and weight being two of the greatest factors.

Our podiatrists have 3 tips to help you avoid heel pain this summer:

1. Choose a more supportive summer shoe

Your heels will thank you for it! Many of our patients can avoid plantar fasciitis by wearing shoes with a 1 – 1 1⁄2 inch heel. Heel height takes pressure off the heel and aligns the knees, hips and backs for correct posture. Consider the following footwear choices over summer:

  • Solid soled sandals
  • Wedges
  • Orthoheel thongs
  • Runners - make sure your runners are still supportive and not worn out

2. Stretching

When we stretch, we increase our range of motion. This allows our limbs and joints to move further before an injury occurs. We work with our patients on a number of plantar fascia stretching techniques to aid in the recovery and decrease muscle soreness.

3. Don’t be the bull at the gate

Whether we want to get into shape quickly, or find it easier to motivate ourselves to do more physical activity in summer, it does pay to start off slowly. This is particularly important for those who are overweight, smoke or haven’t pursued physical activity in a long time.

Most of our patients gain plantar fasciitis relief immediately following nonsurgical treatment. Don’t let heel pain stop you from enjoying your summer. We are always happy to hear from you, so please reach out for us to help.

Highett Podiatry is open after Christmas from January 4th 2016.

Call 9555 3044 or make an online appointment.