Welcome to KimFootandAnkle! I am Dr. Kim. Do you have heel pain? Let’s talk about it. Heel pain is an epidemic in our country. There are 30 million people in the US currently, or formerly suffering from heel pain. That’s 10% of the Population! Right now, 2 million People are affected by heel pain. Each year Podiatrists across the nation see at least 1 million patients, 44% of all these visits are heel pain related!
Over the last 22 years, I have personally treated several thousand, heel pain sufferers and have developed my own ways of healing this epidemic. I will be sharing many of these simple home remedies with you for free in my blogs. I firmly believe in the old Ben Franklin saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” which moved me to start this online campaign against heel pain.
So, heel pain happens either in the back or at the bottom of the foot. The back type of heel pain is not as common. We will cover concerns about the bottom type. It’s called “plantar fasciitis.”
“Itis” means inflammation, it happens when the plantar fascia gets inflamed. The fascia is a layer of a thick band of tissue holding the muscles underneath in place and it is responsible for 25% of your foot’s arch strength.
What makes this condition an epidemic is that after having this problem for three months, a chronic swelling of these structures leads the fascia to degenerate, or even die! This condition is called fasciosis. If you have it, it will feel like the bottom of your foot is engulfed in thick scar tissue. When this happens, it becomes very difficult to treat and your chance of visiting a foot doctor increases dramatically.
You should think of your foot like it’s a tripod. When all of the sides are equal everything is good and balanced. This is a sign of a healthy foot. But if one toe is shorter, you end up with a flat foot. This is a condition where the foot is too flexible. It can be too collapsed to stretch the fascia. Now, I have personal experience with this as I am flat-footed and I can tell you it’s not fun!
If your little toe is shorter it leads to having a high-arched foot, which is too rigid and not able to absorb shock when your heel strikes a surface. Something to remember is that when your heel hits a surface it can be with a force that is up to 2 times your weight. That can happen every time you take a step! So what actually leads to heel pain?
High heels can head you towards heel pain because they tend to tight calf muscles. While flat sandals or flip-flops have no support at all. Stiff shoes don’t bend at the ball and end up putting more pressure on your heels. Hard surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, marble, and wood floors are also tough on your feet. Your everyday posture has a major influence on your heel health too. When you sit forward it tightens up your hip flexors, posterior muscles (hamstrings) and calf muscles. This tightening elongates and flattens out the foot, which stretches the plantar fascia. Now, when you lean back it is not great either. Bad posture weakens your back muscles and along with a little weight gain, it can have disastrous results. You should try and stretch a few minutes every hour on the hour.
The group most commonly afflicted by heel pain range in age from 40-60 years old. This is because they tend to have less flexibility in their muscle groups, but still, try to do a lot with them. A sedentary lifestyle decreases the strength of your core muscles. But weekend warriors, unconditioned athletes, and people who must stand a lot at work can also do damage to their feet.
Another cause of heel pain is the lack of good nutrition. Along with being sedentary and sleep deprivation, it can lead to too much stress, which diminishes your overall healing potential. The initial swelling from any trauma to your feet will progress to a degeneration of cells without proper healing potential!
Putting on even just a few pounds can really add up when it comes to heel pain. The level of pressure your feet must absorb with each step you take is equal to 1 ½ to 2 times the amount of your total weight! The average person takes about 10,000 steps per day. If you gained 10 pounds, you will put up to an extra 20 pounds of pressure on your feet per step. This turns out to be 20,000 pounds of pressure EACH DAY on your poor feet!
So, now that you know that heel pain can strike anyone anywhere at anytime you can see why it has turned into an epidemic. We are at a tipping point with it, but the good news is there are ways to come back from fasciosis! Over the course of my next few blogs I will share some easy and cheap home remedies to help you alleviate your heel pain. So whether you live in Long Beach or the Southern California area or far away please read on to discover some of the trade secrets I’m disclosing here on my site.
Let’s talk more!