New Study Reveals Risk Factors for Heel Pain

Exercises like this can help prevent heel painThis summer, newspapers were filled with headlines about plantar fasciitis, the excruciating heel pain that is caused by inflammation or tears in the plantar fascia, the connective tissue located at the heel of the foot. Sports superstars like Albert Pujols and many others had to step away from the games they loved because of this painful condition so now, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University are helping to identify risk factors that might cause you to develop this particular form of heel pain.

In order to figure out what types of things made people more likely to get plantar fasciitis, the scientists compared a group of 50 people who had plantar fasciitis to 100 people who didn’t have the injury.

According to their findings, several different factors can contribute to the painful inflammation of the plantar fascia. One is being overweight; another is spending several hours a day standing on your feet.

Interestingly, what researchers found to be the biggest risk factor for developing heel pain was having a problem flexing your feet—people who can’t flex their ankles and bring their feet and toes towards their noses were much more likely to develop plantar fasciitis than those with greater ankle flexibility. The study did suggest that you could do specific exercises to increase ankle flexibility, such as standing at arm’s length from the wall, placing one foot behind the other, leaning your body towards the wall, bracing your arms and holding the position for at least ten seconds.

Once you know the risk factors for plantar fasciitis, you can begin to take steps to prevent yourself from developing this painful condition. If, however, you are already living with terrible heel pain, make an appointment to see your Houston podiatrist at Tanglewood Foot Specialists. We can work together to eliminate your pain so you can return to all your favorite activities. 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.