Heel Pain FAQs | Triad Foot & Ankle Center

Heel Pain FAQs

Heel pain in women. Pain concept

If you’re one of the millions of people suffering from plantar fasciitis, you may be frustrated with the pain and have several questions about your condition. The podiatrists at Triad Foot Center receive questions daily regarding heel pain and plantar fasciitis, so we have gathered the top most frequently asked questions to help de-mystify plantar fasciitis.


What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. Typically, patients will have pain in the morning or after periods of rest with plantar fasciitis. When the ligament is resting, it gets tight. As you stand after periods of rest the ligament stretches out and gets inflamed. Plantar fasciitis is a repetitive stress injury that affects the connective tissues that run from the heel to the arch of your foot. Micro-tears along that connective tissue cause pain that can range from throbbing pain to dull aches.


What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is often caused by too much pressure being applied to the foot. People with very high arches, tight ankles and calf muscles, flat feet, and those who engage in frequent repetitive impact activities are also more susceptible to plantar fasciitis.


How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is most often characterized by increased pain and stiffness in the morning when taking your first steps, or after sitting for a prolonged period of time. The pain can range from a dull ach to searing pain, which may onset quickly or develop over time.


Will plantar fasciitis go away?

Sometimes. For some people plantar fasciitis never fully goes away, while others fully recover. The recovery largely depends on the mechanics of your foot and your treatment plan. But the majority of people that suffer from plantar fasciitis do fully recover with the proper treatment from a podiatrist.


How long does it take plantar fasciitis to heal?

Most people suffering from plantar fasciitis recover without any surgical treatments and most recover within one year.


Should I apply ice to the bottom of my foot to help alleviate pain?

Ice has been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. The best way to ice your plantar fascia is to freeze a water bottle and roll it underneath the arch of your foot, or apply an ice pack. A frozen golf ball can also be used to help massage other areas on the bottom of your foot.


Can stretching help plantar fasciitis?

It is in fact recommended to stretch your feet daily! Certain stretches can help alleviate pain and stiffness associated with plantar fasciitis. Talk to your podiatrist about the best stretches for you.


What are my treatment options?

There are several treatment options for plantar fasciitis, including stretching, icing, massaging, anti-inflammatory medication, custom orthotics, specific shoes and rest.  Your podiatrist may even recommend cortisone shots and physical therapy. At Triad Foot Center, our podiatrists offer Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT®), an FDA-approved non-invasive treatment for plantar fasciitis. EPAT® has been shown to be the most successful in alleviating symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis.


How can I prevent plantar fasciitis?

Shoes that support your arches and provide cushion for your heel, as well as exercises that strengthen your legs, ankles, plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are recommended. Custom orthotics are a great way to support any type of foot. Also, be sure to properly warm up before engaging in any activities and avoid increasing activity levels too fast—slow and steady wins the race.


For more information about heel pain or to request an appointment with one of our specialists, click here.