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Life in Motion

Can the Right Shoes Help Your Foot Pain?

Health & Prevention

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Kenneth Leavitt, DPM, Chief of Podiatry at NEBH explains what it is, and if wearing the proper shoes can help to provide some relief.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

To help in supporting the long arch on the bottom of your foot, there is a tight band of connective tissue called the Plantar Fascia, which run from your heel to the ball of your foot. If the plantar fascia becomes over stressed, it becomes inflamed, can tear, and can irritate the bone on the bottom of the heel. Plantar fasciitis pain is typically felt in the bottom of the heel, and is most painful with the first steps in the morning.

Cause of Plantar Fasciitis

The main cause of plantar fasciitis is excessive “pronation” or flattening of the arch of the foot, due to gravity and the pull of the Achilles’ tendon. Runners, those who are overweight, and people who wear shoes without enough heel height difference, like ballet flats or flip flops, are at an increased risk for plantar fasciitis.

Treatment

Wearing shoes that have a 1.5 inch heel differential – meaning a shoe with a two-inch platform at the sole should have a three-inch heel—can help to accommodate for the pull of the Achilles’ tendon. If you are suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, you should always wear a shoe with a one-inch heel differential, even when relaxing at home. You can also talk to your doctor or podiatrist about treating the inflammation with NSAIDS and or an injection with a small amount of cortisone.

If after six months of conservative treatment you are still in pain, surgery (endoscopic plantar fasciotomy) may be necessary to treat the problem.

If you have any type of persistent foot pain, make sure to consult with a qualified podiatric or orthopedic expert.

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