Kicking Heel Pain Away

By Dr. Attilio Avino Jr.
Wednesday - September 13, 2006
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The good doctor examines a foot X-ray of one of his many patients
The good doctor examines a
foot X-ray of one of his
many patients

Ouch! You are getting out of bed and suddenly you experience sharp pain on the bottom of your heel. Startled by this “rude awakening,” you limp toward your bathroom and slowly realize that your pain is lessening with each step.

After a frustrating commute to work, you finally get out of your car only to be daunted by your heel pain yet again. Like an unwanted guest, your heel pain comes and goes adding to the stresses of your daily routine.

If these scenarios sound familiar, you may be experiencing plantar fasciitis. Most people are fooled by the pain’s tendency to go away after taking a few steps. They underestimate the condition and may go on for months before seeking treatment. Some may even alter the way they walk or run to cope with their heel pain, but end up developing problems elsewhere like knee, hip, back pain, or pain in the other foot.

Did you know that heel pain is a very easily treatable condition? Up to 90 percent of all cases of plantar fasciitis respond to simple modalities such as modifications in shoe gear, stretching exercises and ice massage done regularly throughout the day. Your doctor may even choose to give you a cortisone injection or a prescription medication depending on your symptoms.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament on the bottom of the foot, extending from the heel to the base of each toe. A strong ligament, but it too can fail because of one’s foot type, activity level and shoe gear. Even weight gain can

cause the plantar fascia to give or tear. Think about the stress and abuse your feet have to endure from the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep. Your heel pain is the body’s way of telling you “something isn’t right!” So learn to listen.

The road to recovery begins with proper footwear. Give your feet a break by avoiding walking barefoot and wearing slippers. Flip-flops in particular offer little in terms of arch support, foot protection and shock absorption. Calf stretching exercises can also get you back on track. A 10-minute routine done a few times a day is a worthwhile and effective investment in avoiding or recovering from plantar fasciitis.

But don’t wait for your heel pain to become excruciating before you decide to pay a visit to your doctor. The longer you ignore plantar fascia pain, the worse it’s going to get and the longer it will take to rehab you back to your usual self. Your doctor can help you kick the pain away, but most importantly, he or she can determine whether your pain reflects an undiagnosed condition that is manifesting in your foot, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, to name a couple.

Your feet don’t have to hurt. If your heel pain gets out of hand, see your doctor and show an unwanted guest the door! For more information, you can visit Dr. Avino of the Foot & Ankle Institute of Hawaii online at

Next Week: Jim and Scott Harada, owners Marian’s Island Wide Catering

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