Dr. Wagoner’s Perspective: Dancing into Heel Pain

dancing with plantar fasciitisOver the past several weeks I have been rehearsing for “Dancing with the Carolina Stars.” The morning after my first rehearsal I got up and OUCH! I had never had heel pain until that morning and I finally understood what it’s like to live with heel pain.

As I started to walk the pain eased up and I realize I was suffering from what is known as plantar fasciitis. Pain in the morning or after a period of rest is a classic symptom of plantar fasciitis. Over the next couple of rehearsals, the pain in my right heel and arch continued. But once I started treatment, the pain resolved.

Every day I see many of people come into the office with heel pain and now I finally understand what this is like. Here are a couple of tips that I can share with you about how I treated the pain in my heel.

  1. Stretch: Stretching on a regular basis is very important. Stretching the muscles in your foot as well as your Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that runs behind your ankle and into your calf, can help ease the symptoms. Often a tight Achilles’ tendon can lead to pain in the heel.  If you are active, make sure you stretch before and after activity. This was my first mistake. I didn’t stretch and ultimately lead the plantar fascia, which is a ligament on the bottom of the foot that attached to your heel bone, to become tight.
  2. Ice. Apply an ice pack to the bottom of the heel or use a frozen water bottle and roll underneath your foot. This can help decrease the inflammation and help with the pain.
  3. Wear good and supportive shoes. During my first rehearsal, I wore an old pair of shoes against better judgment. Bad shoes can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.  Also, as the seasons change we often wear a different style of shoe that can be the start of symptoms. Changing your shoes will often help.
  4. Orthotics. Orthotics help support the arch of your foot and take pressure off of the plantar fascia and help support your foot structure. I started wearing a pair of custom orthotics that helped support my flatfoot, which is another cause of plantar fasciitis.
  5. Anti-inflammatory medications. Often an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can be used to help decrease the inflammation and pain.  Not everyone should take anti-inflammatories so make sure you talk with your doctor before starting.

These are just a couple of treatment options available if you think you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. There are also other non-surgical options for plantar fasciitis that we offer at Triad Foot Center. If you believe that you are suffering from heel pain, please give us a call at 336-375-6990.

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