heel pain, plantar faschiitis, orthotics

Ask the Doc: Heel Pain

Ask the Doc: Heel Pain

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of America.com


I’ve been experiencing pain in my right heel. I can hardly walk when I first get up, but it gets better as I continue to move about. What can I do? –B. L.

Dear B. L.: You are describing a condition known as Plantar Faschiitis. It is an inflammation at the attachment site of the tissues that support arch of the foot. As the body attempts to heal the injury a calcium deposit or “spur” may form. The spur is only a symptom of the problem, not the cause. Flat feet, high arches, weight gain & increasing age are predisposing factors. Correction depends upon good shoe support (lace-up shoes are the best), use of orthotics (shoe inserts that correct the angle of the heel), anti-inflammatory supplements or medications, and stretching and strengthening exercises.

Non-prescription inserts that are available for around $25.00 have been shown to work better than prescriptive orthotics costing hundreds of dollars.

Stretching is done by placing the affected foot behind the body & keeping it flat on the floor while bending forward, first with the leg straight & then with the knee bent. Strengthening is accomplished by placing a newspaper or towel on the floor and using the toes and foot to shape it into a ball. These measures will bring resolution in nearly all cases. -Dr. Peterson

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