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A Pain in the Heel

At one time or another, most adults will experience some sort of heel pain. In our experience here at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, the majority of our patients with heel pain are suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the ligament that runs from the base of your toes to the calcaneus, or heel bone. The plantar fascia helps maintain and stabilize the arch of your foot. The most common reasons for strain and inflammation of the plantar fascia are

  • a predisposition to having a flat arch (flatfoot)
  • repetitive stress – performing the same activity over and over, such as walking the same route on the same surface
  • wearing unsupportive shoes, which puts additional strain on the arch
  • being overweight
  • some combination of the above

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include

  • pain in your heel after resting, especially the first few steps when you get up in the morning
  • sharp pain in the center of your foot at the arch
  • some degree of pain throughout the day that lessens as you walk (because you’re giving the plantar fascia a chance to stretch out)

Other causes of heel pain

An inflammation of the plantar fascia is only one cause of heel pain. Others include

Of special note: heel pain in children

Heel pain in children may point to a condition known as Sever’s disease. It’s an inflammation of the growth plate at the heel, so it can sometimes pop up during growth spurts. It’s especially common among children who are active in sports.

Treatment for heel pain

For both adults and children, heel pain will usually go away through a combination of rest, icing, exercises that stretch the plantar fascia, anti-inflammatory medications, night splints that keep the plantar fascia stretched out as you sleep, physical therapy, and orthotic inserts.

Proper treatment for chronic heel pain begins with a proper diagnosis. Count on board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm for excellence and accuracy in diagnosing and treating your heel pain. We’re located in Centreville, VA, just west of D.C., and welcome your appointment request online or by phone at (703) 996-3000.

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