“I am having pain under my heel”
Plantar fasciitis is an irritation of the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot that runs over the arch from the heel to the forefoot. The most common symptoms are pain under the heel, especially when first getting out of bed or when getting up after sitting for a period of time. The body heals this type of injury by building scar tissue over the injury. Repeated use tears this new scar tissue which causes pain and prevents healing.
What can I do?
RICES: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Support
Elevation and compression typically are not needed for treatment of heel pain but relative rest and ice can help.
Relative rest means continuing exercise but exercising a different way or decreasing your time and intensity to allow an injury to heal:
Walking or running: Decrease your time, number of days of exercise each week, distance, and speed. Avoid hills. Try exercising on a softer surface.
Temporarily switch to a non-impact exercise such as cycling or swimming.
Ice is most effective for 48 to 72 hours following an injury. Plantar fasciitis is a repetitive strain injury so ice will be effective as long as the pain continues. Apply ice to the painful area for 20 minutes at a time. Icing after exercise will be more effective than icing before exercise. You can apply an ice massage to the bottom of your foot by freezing a bottle of water and rolling the bottle on the floor under your foot
Stretching the muscles in the lower leg can be helpful. Stretch to the point of tension but not pain. (heel cord and toe extension stretches)
Anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful but you should talk to your doctor first.
If the shoes you wear while exercising are worn out, do not fit properly, or are not suited to your foot type you may need to change your shoes. Your shoes should match your type of foot. Most people’s feet can be classified as high arch (supinator), low arch (pronator), neutral arch. Along with these foot types you can also have a stiff or flexible foot. There is controversy whether or not matching your footwear to your foot type will help prevent or heal injuries but it is worth considering a shoe that matches your foot type.
If you walk or run, the surface you exercise on can cause injuries. Typically a softer surface such as grass, dirt, a rubberized track, or a treadmill is better than concrete or asphalt. The only problem with the softer surfaces is that they can also be uneven which can cause foot and ankle pain and injuries for some people.
My heel pain is improving!
How can I go back to my usual workout without injury?
Increase your workouts gradually. A general guideline is to increase no more than 10% each week. For example, if you have been able to walk or run for 20 minutes without pain, increase your time by 2 minutes each week until you are up to your desired exercise time. The same goes for speed, hills, etc. Always change your workout gradually.
Continue with stretching exercises which are most effective if done after your workout when your muscles are warm.
Begin strengthening exercises for your lower leg muscles. (toe raises, heel raises, towel crunch)
Balance and agility training may help prevent injuries by improving the control of movement in your legs. (single leg standing, eyes open, eyes closed, BOSU, wobble board)