If you have heel pain, you know it can make simple tasks, like getting from one part of your home to another, nearly impossible. What’s more? You may be making your heel pain worse with habits that negatively impact your feet.
At New Canaan Podiatry, board-certified podiatrist, Jennifer Tauber, DPM, specializes in helping patients in the New Canaan, Connecticut, area uncover the cause of their heel pain and find lasting relief. Dr. Tauber also wants to make sure you aren’t making your heel pain worse with bad habits that affect your feet.
Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the bad habits that may be harmful to your heels.
Why does my heel hurt?
People can develop heel pain for many different reasons, from fractures to bone spurs to bruised heel pads. But the most common cause of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis.
Your foot has a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that stretches from your heel along the base of your foot. When this tissue gets inflamed, you develop plantar fasciitis. This inflammation is usually the result of overstretching from doing too much of an activity, like running. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Stabbing pain in your heel at the bottom of your foot
- Heel pain when you move after resting (usually first thing in the morning)
- Heel pain that gets worse after you exercise or spend time on your feet
While anyone can develop this painful condition, people between the ages of 40-60, who engage in activities that put stress on your heels and feet (e.g., running, dancing), are obese, or spend lots of time on their feet (e.g., teachers) are at higher risk. The mechanics of your feet (e.g., high arches) can also make it more likely that you’ll develop plantar fasciitis.
What habits make heel pain worse?
If you’re suffering from heel pain related to plantar fasciitis, you could have habits that are making it worse. Here’s a look at the most common bad habits that affect heel pain:
- Staying overweight: Being overweight by just one pound create a four to six times increase in the pressure on your feet
- Eating too much sugar: When your blood sugar levels are high, your body releases molecules that can trigger inflammation and make heel pain worse
- Standing for long periods: Spending too much time standing — especially if you’re standing on a hard surface or in one position — makes the effects of plantar fasciitis worse
- Wearing the wrong shoes: Flat shoes, flip-flops, shoes that are too tight, and high heels add pressure to the soft tissue of your feet and can make heel pain worse
- Pushing through heel pain: Trying to ignore your heel pain increases the risk of tearing the soft tissues of your feet, especially since most people subconsciously compensate by standing in unnatural positions
- Skipping stretching and strength training: If you’re in the habit of skipping stretching before and after your workout or if you’ve been ignoring strength training your legs and ankles, you could be making your heel pain worse
The good news is that by reversing these bad habits, you can help reduce the pressure on and inflammation in your feet and minimize or eradicate your heel pain.
Is there a treatment for heel pain?
The good news is that there are treatments available to address your heel pain. Before recommending a specific therapy, Dr. Tauber first diagnoses the underlying cause of your heel pain.
Based on her finding, Dr. Tauber then creates a personalized treatment plan to alleviate your heel pain and get you back on your feet again. Different types of treatment may include:
- Custom orthotics
- Rest and ice
- Wearing different shoes
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Surgery (in severe cases)
To learn more about your heel pain or for help finding relief, contact Dr. Tauber at New Canaan Podiatry by calling 203-263-9052. You can also book an appointment online at your convenience.