There can be many causes of pain under the heel, but probably the most common one is irritation to the plantar fascia – sometimes called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of thick tissue which runs from your heel bone to your toes. If you bend your big toe back, you should see it become prominent on the sole of your foot. It helps to supports the arch of your foot but if it gets overloaded it can become thickened and cause discomfort under your heel. You can see the inside band of the plantar fascia in the picture below with the thumb pressing on the common site of pain.
A classic symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain on the first steps after getting up from a period of sitting, or first thing in the morning when getting out of bed - again, usually in that area being pressed above. Sometimes it eases of a little when actually walking, only to come back again when you stop for a rest.
Spending long periods of time standing or walking, especially a sudden increase in these activities, can cause plantar fasciitis. Also, being overweight will increase the load going through the foot. Maintaining strength and flexibility in the muscles of the feet and legs is vital to help manage the symptoms of plantar heel pain. Footwear is important and heel raises or heel cushioning may help to reduce the pain while you are doing the rehabilitation, however, if they are uncomfortable or increase symptoms, then stop wearing them.
Below are some links to exercises that have been shown to help improve symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Click on the video link to be taken to our YouTube channel where there are 7 short videos that you may find helpful in managing this problem.
Alternatively, click on the leaflet for some written advice.
Don’t expect things to improve overnight though. It takes time for muscles and joints to adapt and get stronger
Please note: If you do not see any sign of improvement after 6 - 8 weeks of following the advice and exercises please phone 0141 347 8909 for more advice and support.