Have you ever experienced acute heel pain immediately after waking up, only to have the sharp pain fade away within a few minutes, as if it were never there? This is one of the most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis, or heel pain syndrome. The muscle of the heel will experience a brief spark of pain each morning, with no other symptoms or swelling. Why is this happening, and how can you prevent it?
The entire bottom of the foot is covered by a thick band of tissue, the plantar fascia, which provides protection and support. If this tissue is irritated or inflamed due to overuse or overstretching, it can cause sharp pains in the heel area.
Tissue damage to the heel is usually caused by improper footwear. Shoes are meant to support the foot and provide structure to better assist foot muscles in whatever activity you are participating in. For example, if someone were to go on their usual morning run wearing flat sandals, they would likely damage their heels and cause plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis isn’t usually caused by any one traumatic event to the feet, but rather by a gradual build-up of overuse and continued use of poor footwear. The pain to the heels will usually only occur in the mornings immediately after waking up, or sometimes at other points during the day if you are on your feet for an extended period of time. There will typically not be any visible redness or inflammation because the damage will be rooted deeply in the muscle of the foot.
One of the most important things to do to keep your heels healthy is to stretch the muscles of the feet and always be sure to wear proper, supportive footwear. While these practices work best to prevent heel pain or injury from occurring in the first place, they can also help strengthen the foot and provide protection while it heals. One of the best ways to stretch the heel is to stand on a step with your heels over the edge, stretching the toes upward while the heels drop down.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or other types of foot pain, contact the podiatrists at Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington. With offices in Kirkland, Everett, and Renton, we are sure we can offer services to meet your foot care needs. While plantar fasciitis can start out as a commonplace issue, it can progress into something more serious if symptoms worsen and you do not seek proper care. Make the health of your feet a priority, and contact our offices.