Getting up in the morning was bringing Robert Davies down.
“As soon as I put pressure on my feet, I got tremendous pain,” says Davies.
The source of his problem was in his heels. Davies is one of a growing number of people who visit the doctor with this complaint.
“Heel Pain Syndrome is what we call it because it can be a collection of symptoms, one of them being pain when you first get up in the morning. Usually that is a condition called plantar fasciitis, but it can be associated with other things such as a heel spur or a tight Achilles tendon,” says Dr. Andrew Belis, podiatrist and foot/ankle surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
In Davies case, it was a bone spur.
“I had a calcium deposit on the heels of my foot,” says Davies.
The other common culprit is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes. Both of these conditions are often result of overuse.
“That contributes to it. Repetitive, over irritation of the ligament. Sometimes people have a weight gain and they notice this start up,” says Dr. Belis.
Our feet are the first things to take a pounding. From the time we get up until we lay down at night. We average walking 115,000 miles over a lifetime. That’s four times around the globe. And too often, we aren’t taking the right steps to avoid pains.
“Frequently what I recommend is a lot of stretching exercises for their Achilles tendon or their plantar fascia to loosen that up a little bit so when they do start to walk on it it’s not so tight. Secondly you can ice it down, that helps too,” says Dr. Belis.
And don’t forget shoes with proper support.
“Using good shoes can help and sometimes using over-the-counter insoles can help but if there’s already pain there you almost have to break that pain cycle first,” says Dr. Belis.
Davies first needed injections to allay the inflammation. Now he’s in good standing.
“I wear good shoes, I have good supports. And I replace those shoes once every six months,” says Davies.