What is heel pain, and how can I prevent it?

The most common type of heel pain is called planter fasciitis, or inflammation of the planter fascia.  It is a ligament that runs across the bottom of your foot from your heel to the forefoot.  If your foot is a little more flexible than it should be, then the planter fascia stretches excessive with every step like a rubber band.  This causes irritation usually at its attachment in the heel.  Inflammation develops, which is your body’s way of healing an irritated area, causing pain.  Symptoms include pain when first getting out of bed in the morning that may ease after walking a bit, but worsens again with prolonged standing and walking throughout the day.   Stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory medication, such as Advil or Aleve, and sometimes over the counter arch supports can be helpful.  Wearing good supportive shoes can help prevent it or can in some cases help prevent planter fasciitis.  However, if you cannot control your heel pain and it is interfering with your lifestyle, a conversation with a doctor would be beneficial.