Heel Pain and the Use of Orthotics

Footech President

Jacques Martin, D.S.S., B.Sc., C.Ped.
President, Footech Inc., Certified Pedorthist

Heel Pain, Plantar Fasciitis, and the Use of Orthotics

Plantar fasciitis is a painful heel condition that is often caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon in the foot. Although it is a common condition, it can be difficult to treat if it is not attended to in its initial stages. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain under or inside the heel, and sometimes pain along the arch of the foot. The pain can worsen throughout the day as the condition progresses, although often pain is worse first thing in the morning, as the fascia tends to tighten overnight.

While there is no single cure for plantar fasciitis, various treatments, including surgery, have been used to treat the condition effectively over the long-term, with varying degrees of success. The results of a national 2-year study on the treatment of pain caused by plantar fascitist conducted by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society and published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy has indicated that the use of foot orthotics may prove to be the fastest and most cost-effective method of relieving the pain associated with this condition.

Plantar fasciitis Caused by Biomechanical Imbalances

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by biomechanical abnormalities of the foot, including high arches, low arches and oversupination. Walking in footwear that does not provide adequate arch support has also been attributed to the development of plantar fasciitis.
The results of the 2-year national study on the treatment of pain conducted by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society demonstrated that semi-rigid foot orthotics may significantly reduce pain experienced during walking, and may also reduce global measures of disability in patients with plantar fasciitis. Pain was relieved in a relatively short time period for subjects who previously experienced chronic symptoms, and who had experimented with various potential solutions before using the foot orthotics presented to them during the study.

Results of the study suggested that the use of semi-rigid foot orthotics may be a cost-effective method of reducing the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

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