What’s more important to you: following the latest shoe styles or having no pain in your heels? That may not be a fair question, because there are stylish shoes that still give you the support you need to avoid problems, but you may not be choosing them. Before you go out and fill your shoe racks with the latest decorated flip-flop styles, consider this: doctors are seeing increased heel pain in 15 to 25-year-olds since these flimsy sandals became their go-to choice for daily wear.
Don’t Flip-Flop on Heel Pain
Many things can cause soreness in your heel area, including Achilles tendon problems, arthritis, nerve irritation, stress fractures, or bursitis. By far the most common, however, is the pain that occurs under your heel bone from a condition called plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a flat ligament that connects to the bottom of your calcaneus (heel bone) and fans out to connect to each of your phalanges (toe bones). This tissue band helps to form your arch and stabilize your foot as you walk.
The repetitive stress of standing for long periods, walking, running, and jumping, as well as the deterioration that happens as you age, can damage the plantar fascia. This is intensified if you have flat feet or high arches, or mechanical issues—such as your feet rolling inward too far with each step. The damaged tissue becomes inflamed and swollen (plantar fasciitis), and can develop tiny tears which are painful.
Don’t hem and haw if you have pain under your arch or heel bone. This condition needs to be treated promptly to avoid chronic issues in the years to come. Set up a visit with the expert podiatrists at Atlantic Foot and Ankle Associates and begin your path to healthy feet.
Healing Remedies for Heel Pain
You don’t want to hear it, but you need to start by resting your foot. Yes, it is important to get your cardio, but not at the expense of constant discomfort. You can’t walk and run well if you hurt anyway, so take time off, or mix it up with elliptical machine work or bicycling instead. Don’t stand for long periods of time, either.
Now your shoes. They need to comfortably support your arch and have cushioning to protect your feet from impact. Flip-flops just don’t cut it. These flat little pieces of foam have no support, plus you have to keep clamping your toes to hold them on as you walk. Neither is good for your feet. You can wear them at the beach, or to protect your feet in public pool areas or showers, but choose better footwear for your daily activities. We can evaluate your foot shape and needs, then suggest what you should look for when you shop for shoes.
Next, we can give you exercises that stretch out your calf muscles and plantar fascia. One that seems to really help is this: in the morning, before you take that first painful step, sit on the edge of the bed, cross your leg, and use the opposite hand to pull your toes back toward your shin. Hold 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. This can go a long way toward eliminating that painful first step in the morning. Do this three times a day if possible.
Finally, come in and be fit for custom orthotics. By redistributing your weight and correcting imbalances on your stride, these shoe inserts can reduce your discomfort and help you get back to your normal activities. If all else fails, there is still a surgical option to treat severe, chronic pain in your heels. Call Atlantic Foot and Ankle Associates at (877) 816-8826 service all of Volusia and Flagler counties.