What does your heel pain and the 2014 Olympics have in common?

Watching the 2014 Winter Olympics is in full swing here in Kansas City! Snowborder InjuryWhile heel pain can sure try to keep you out of your favorite sports, 16 year old Ty Walker, a professional snowboarder and Sochi Olympic competitor for team USA, didn’t let it stop her from competing for the gold!  She even had a shot to numb her heel, so she could flip and fly through the air on her snowboard to fulfill her Olympic dreams.  While she didn’t win a medal, she at least gave it her best shot (so to speak), with a painful bone bruise to her heel.

Bone bruises to the heel aren’t that common, as they are seen usually with direct trauma to the bottom of the heel.  However your heel pain may be caused by plantar fasciitis, which is seen more commonly.  Plantar fasciitis is usually due to instability in the way the foot functions.  In fact, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain to the bottom of the heel.  Approximately 2 million people are treated each year for this condition.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the ligament that supports the arch gets inflamed and strained.  It is more likely to happen if you your arches flatten excessively, as in excessive pronation, have high arches, stand on your feet for long periods, wear unsupportive shoes, and have a tight Achilles tendon, or tight heel cord.

Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain with their first steps in the morning, but often your feet can hurt more as the day goes on.  Don’t ignore your heel pain.  Getting help fast can get you back to the activities you love!  It is important to get an x-ray by your podiatrist, and rule out any other causes of heel pain, such as a stress fracture.  Many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, but the spur is not the cause of the pain.  Because plantar fasciitis is not due to the spur, pain can almost always be treated without surgery.

Go see your podiatrist as soon as possible – more than 90% of the time heel pain can be treated non-surgically with traditional therapy.  We have many different treatment options at Kansas City Foot and Ankle.    Dr. Mark Green and Dr. Stephanie Jameson are experts in treating heel pain.  Just like Olympians, your feet and your heels are very important to athletes and YOU!