The 5 most common mistakes made by heel pain sufferers
Read this wonderful post written for PodiPedia by “The Heel Pain Expert” Mr Benn Boshell. If you suffer from heel pain, commonly referred to as “plantar fasciitis” then read on…
1. Self Diagnose
Most people that suffer from heel pain first consult with “Dr Google” to try and find out what is causing their foot pain. After reading a few familiar symptoms such as a sharp stabbing pain getting out of bed first thing in the morning and worse towards the end of the day, many reach a self diagnosis of “plantar fasciitis” However, there are many other conditions that cause heel pain that have the same symptom pattern click here for a list of other conditions that can cause heel pain.
An incorrect diagnosis leads to inappropriate and ineffective treatment. The take home message here is that not all heel pain is plantar fasciitis. If you’re suffering with heel pain we recommend seeing a qualified health professional to avoid incorrect diagnosis.
2. Ignore the pain
Many people simply put up with pain in the early stages in the hope that it will just go away. For the lucky minority of people, this may be the case however for most people heel pain persists until the underlying cause has been addressed. Ignoring the pain leads to delayed treatment.
The longer you suffer with pain before starting appropriate treatment, no longer it takes to recover. Delaying treatment also lowers treatment success rate.
We recommend seeking medical advice as soon as possible which will allow you to get on top of the problem before it gets worse and becomes a significant impact on your daily life.
3. Waste money on “quick fix” gimmicks
It can be very tempting to try some of the quick fix gadgets and gizmos with their over-inflated claims to cure your pain and schemes such as money back guarantees. Indeed some websites provide very misleading information including fake testimonials and phrases like “clinically proven” which in some instances is a straight up lie.
As a general rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
4. Wear the wrong shoes
Unfortunately many heel pain sufferers don’t know which shoes will help their pain levels and which will make it worse and in many cases their current chosen regular footwear is the latter.
A common mistake we see patients make is focusing on the brand exclusively. The brand isn’t important. What is important is the design of the shoe.
Here are some tips:
Avoid flat/low heeled shoes. This will increase strain on the heel (particularly the plantar fascia and achilles tendon). Instead aim for a heel height of approximately 1 inch (2.6cm). This will decrease strain on the heel
Wear shoes with a fastening. Slip on shoes lack support and cause your foot to slip within the shoe which creates abnormal movement
Make sure the shoes have a rigid midsole and only flex in the toe box section of the shoe (the area where your toes bend during walking)
5. Ineffective exercises
There is an abundance of online recommendations on exercises for plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain and many resources provide clear and correct advice. On the other hand there are also many that are a waste of time and ineffective. This is sometimes due to poorly demonstrated technique and some are just utter nonsense.
We appreciate that it can be very difficult to know whether what you’re being advised is correct or not. Therefore we recommend going to see a HCPC qualified podiatrist or physiotherapist to make sure the advice you’re being given is appropriate.
If you want to speak with Benn about any of the information in this article, you can contact him through his website The Heel Pain Expert.
Article by Mr Benn J S Boshell BSc (Hons), MSc
Podiatrist. Director of The Heel Pain Expert
Featured image: Conscious Design