Exercise & Fitness Community
6.19k Members
973741 tn?1342342773

Heel pain

So, work out friends, I have a problem.  One heel has a lot of pain.  It's been ongoing since early July.  I had gone to my son's boy scout camp and wore tennis shoes.  I think I walked about 10 miles through gravel, wood trails, up and down hills and steps.  My little piggies were swollen and tired after that!  But worse, my left heel hurt like crazy.  And . . .it still hurts.  I've had plantar faciaitis before.  Painful, but in both heals and I healed it with careful stretching, ice and ibuprofen. This isn't going away!  I need to exercise so my heart stays healthy (really) so have an insole in one shoe and stretch.  And I muster through it.  But I can end up limping at the end of the day and first thing when I get up.  It can also come and go.  In the summer, I would swim a lot and that didn't seem to help (giving it a break with walking and stretching in pool).  Any ideas?  ( I know it's probably time to see a podiatrist and will ask about this at my physical in November . . .  but does this sound like plantars facia issues or something else?)  
6 Responses
Avatar universal
HI, Mom.  I've had the darned curse of plantar fasciitis in my left heel for several years now.  It's not the worst case, but it forced me to go back to doing things I hurt myself doing before and now I hurt myself doing them again.  But it does sound like plantar fasciitis.  The other possibilities are a bruise or an impinged nerve, but I'd guess if you've had plantar fasciitis and never found the cure for how you're moving you have it again.  I found swimming didn't help, either, and I figured the reason is that when you swim you're using your feet and heels a lot for push, putting pressure on it.  And of course, the swimming reinjured my neck.  I would rest for awhile and go back to the ice, elevation, RICE routing and start the stretching now.  Don't wait.  The podiatrist will probably send you to physical therapy unless you find an old-fashiioned one who uses taping.  As for inserts, putting one in just one foot will just foul up the other, and probably foul up your hips as well if the inserts aren't right for you -- and possibly even if they are (just fouled up my hips, so that's how I found that out).  The longer you wait, the more likely you'll end up with a harder case to treat.  Good luck with the podiatrist.  
By the way, I'm now on complete rest because of the hips -- probably bursitis.  I hate not being active, Mom, but I'm just getting too old to heal all the injuries I've earned by all the basketball, kung fu, running I did.  Good luck.
20691887 tn?1504691993
Sounds like PF.  

Have you been prescribed exercises for your feet?  Stretches should help too.  The ice, hmmm, don't think that will help much.  Ibuprofen should help with the inflammtion.

I would recommend you take a look at the type of shoes you are wearing and/or get customized orthotics made for both feet to put in your shoes.  If it flares up terribly bad there is the option of taping and/or a steroid injection.  There are night boots you can wear as well.  As for your activities, swimming in the pool instead of walking in the pool would be better.  Bike riding, elliptical machine, etc.....off your feet is the best.  You should probably avoid loads of walking and hiking until this flare up is under control.  Good hiking/walking boots or shoes are a must.  

How is your core?  You may think what does my core have to do with this?  If your core is weak it can affect your feet.  If you are overweight, lose the extra pounds doing low impact.  Diet is 80% of weight loss.

Again, your shoes could well be the biggest culprit.  Steer clear of heels, slippers, flats, flip flops, shoes with little to no support=bad for your feet.  Most think nothing of their feet and buy flashy and cute shoes and most of the time these shoes are not of good quality and have no good support.

See a Podiatrist or a Foot and Ankle Specialist soon.  Don't wait.  First thing in the morning, stretch those feet before you begin your day.  A Rolling Pin is great for PF and well for making pies.
973741 tn?1342342773
Thanks.  I guess I need to bite the bullet and see the podiatrist.  I was able to get rid of the PF before.  And that's why I'm frustrated.  Those things aren't working.  I do have a stretching sock for when I sleep which frankly is a bit like torture.  Besides the fact that it squeezes the life out of my foot, it also keeps it in an uncomfortable position. I will wear it for maybe an hour tops and then ditch it--  who can sleep with those?!

Thanks for the info on the insoles.  Never thought about their doing more damage.  My heal just hurts so bad that it gives a cushion when walking.  I only use it with my walking shoes.

And oh boy, I'm at the age where I need orthopedic walking shoes custom made.  Sigh.  

Anyway, I'll keep working on it and let you know my progress. thanks for your help!
PF doesn't really go away; once you've had this you will be prone to flare-ups and other problems.  So, yeah...you are stuck with this problem.

Yes, unfortunately things wear out over time, but I look at this way at least it's something that can be treated/corrected.  Plus, I am glad that I've made it to middle age as many can't complain about all this because they aren't here to complain.  

I was born with terrible feet from day one, so can you imagine having the ugliest shoes to wear to school as a young child and teenager?  

Rather have the ugly orthopedic shoes then pain and deformity.
Unless you have diabetic neuropathy or something like that I don't see why you'd need orthopedic shoes.  The orthotics just go in any shoes you own.  I wouldn't advise wearing hiking shoes for now, though -- they are hard and meant to be hard for hiking on tough trails.  Mine has never gone away, and the podiatrist I had didn't believe in orthotics, and then I got messed up by being sent from physical therapist to physical therapist for different treatments but each said they weren't allowed to do those treatments unless they also did PT and told me to stop everything I was doing and start anew with their ideas.  And I have to tell you, I was finally sent to a shoe store owned by a retired podiatrist who put me in special shoes with an arch support he made for each.  While they evened the pressure on the heel, I think they wrecked my hips once I started doing long walks.  If you can fix it by stretching and strengthening, it is better, and when I researched this stuff Kaiser in California said on their website to just go buy a good orthotic off the shelf and see if it works, but they all seemed very hard to me or too soft.  There are two kinds of feet prone to plantar fasciitis -- flat feet with pronation and high arches with no pronation.  I'm in the latter category, and the podiatrist put me in very highly structured and supportive shoes that are really made for people who pronate and I didn't.  Icing, by the way, is recommended by everyone as this is an inflammatory condition and it's new to you.  For most people, this goes away, but when it becomes chronic, as it did for me, exercise is actually good for it.  It beats it into submission for awhile, anyway.  Also, tight calves contribute to it as well.  But another thing I've learned -- everyone has an opinion about injuries, and we're probably all wrong.  
Oh, and those socks are difficult to wear because they don't adjust -- they can often cut off the circulation in your feet if you don't have really flexible ankles.  The boots are not comfortable, but you can adjust them and if that still hurts you can just make them arch just a bit -- part of the reason you wear these things is just to keep your foot from pointing downwards when you sleep so there is some stretch going on.  They're also cooler than the socks.  But they're hard, and so not easy to sleep with, but they do exist and help some.  
20691887 tn?1504691993
One doesn't need to have Diabetic Neuropathy to be prescribed Orthopedic shoes.  An Orthopedic shoe is prescribed for VARIOUS foot conditions/problems.  I've had a problem with PF myself, so I do have experience with dealing with this problem.  I've had flare-ups on and off for 20-25 years.  I was prescribed an Orthopedic shoes (not custom made) and orthotics and the time between my flare-ups have gotten longer.  Last flare-up was 6 years ago.  Those shoes and orthotics keep me pain free. I can hike, talk my long walks and do my other sports without pain.

It's always best to seek the advise of your Podiatrist or Foot/Ankle Specialist.  

Some only need better supporting shoes and orthotics and some need a bit more=moi.
973741 tn?1342342773
I took the thing out of my walking shoes I'd placed in one of them (the bad foot) as my arch was starting to hurt which has never hurt before.  I'm trying the rolling pin!  

I actually also had to wear those beautiful special shoes in my youth because I am pigeon toed.  At that time (way back when), orthopedics was not very smart about this and I wore these special shoes for a few years as if my feet had anything to do with it.  My hips rotate in.  I had a funky pair of saddle shoes that I remember.

Today, I was kind of dragging my feet and you know the walking dead?  My kids aren't allowed to watch it . . .  but have seen the commercials.  They are called walkers and they drag a foot.  My son said I looked like a walker.  My younger son asked what is a walker. And my older son replied a zombie.  And then my younger son deemed me -- Mombie--  

Gotta love it.
I seem to have messed up my hips by wearing special shoes for plantar fasciitis a podiatrist sold me.  Now my right foot sticks out to the right and my hips are hurting.  It happened when I started walking a lot for exercise.  And a golf ball is better than the rolling pin -- you can get it right where you need it and dig in with it.  Not that it fixed my problem.  I've also had problem with my metatarsals when I've tried other shoes since I started wearing these, and I can't get them anymore so I have to find something to wear.  I'd go for orthotics if anything, Mom, because you can put them into any shoe you want, but they have to go on both feet, not just one, or you end up lopsided and your body compensates for it and not in a good way.  
20691887 tn?1504691993
Specialmom, were you using an insole that you bought from a store or was the insole custom-made for your foot?  There is a BIG difference between the two situations.  I really think you need to consult a Podiatrist or a Foot/Ankle Specialist about this.  I know all about the zombie drag.  
I think Zonny is right on this -- I tried the ones off the shelf, but it's really hard to find one that's comfortable and you never know if it's right for you.  My wife had an Achilles problem and she loves her orthotics, but she gets them made according to prescription.
Mine are custom made; per prescription.
Top Healthy Living Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Popular Resources
14 super-healthy foods that are worth the hype
Small changes make a big impact with these easy ways to cut hundreds of calories a day.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.