Why do my heels hurt?


Sore heels? You may have a condition known as plantar fascitis. The plantar fascia originates at the calcaneus (heel bone) and fans out toward the toes helping to maintain the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament which can result in pain and swelling under the arch of the foot. Excessive foot pronation, poor footwear, tight calves/Achilles tendons, being overweight and long periods of walking/standing/running on hard surfaces can all contribute in developing this injury. Poor lower limb mechanics can also overload the plantar fascia and cause pain.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit for a long time but improves as day progresses.
  • Pain tends to decrease when taking pressure off the foot eg: rest, elevation.
  • Pain may increase after walking barefoot on hard surfaces or by walking up stairs.
  • Increased pain during beginning of activity, especially sprinting and skipping.
  • Standing all day tends to cause pain to get worse towards end of the day.

Management of this condition involves reducing the inflammation around the tendon and then finding the cause of the pain. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing footwear or training surface and other times it may require a pair of orthotics and/or a tailored rehab program to fix your foot and lower limb mechanics.