I Can’t Put Any Weight on My Heel
Here’s a story we hear a lot from patients—men and women of all ages and from all walks of life:
Everything seems to be going fine. Maybe you recently switched jobs, or started up a new workout routine. Or maybe nothing much has changed at all.
Then, one day, you put your foot down on the floor, start to stand up, and—“Yowch!” Where in the world did that come from?
Yet for as suddenly as the pain seemed to come on, walking around for at least a few minutes seems to quiet the discomfort.
… That is, until the next time you get up from your bed or your seat, and the pain starts all over again.
Why Is This Happening to Me?
To be clear: simply reading a blog post isn’t the same thing as confirming a diagnosis. If you’re suddenly beset by sharp, stabbing heel pain, it’s important to get an evaluation and advice from a real expert like Dr. Lockwood or Dr. Rizvi.
That being said, the situation we described above is a classic sign of a condition called plantar fasciitis.
So now, we’re guessing you have a couple of logical follow-up questions. Let’s start all the way at the beginning.
What’s Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis for men and women who suffer from heel pain.
The bottom of your foot is spanned by a tough, fibrous, ligament-like band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which stretches all the way from the base of your toes to the point where it attaches to the bottom of the heel bone. The plantar fascia is designed to support your arch, where it flexes like a bowstring to absorb impact forces and then “springs” back into shape, releasing that stored energy to help propel you forward.
If the plantar fascia gets overstretched, inflamed, or torn due to taking too much stress and abuse over time, the damage is mostly likely to develop right under or in front of the heel bone. That’s what causes the pain.
But Why Does Plantar Fasciitis Result in Me Not Being Able to Bear Weight Right Away?
Here’s what’s going on.
The reason your foot hurts so much when you put weight on it after resting for a while is that, for the last 2-8 hours or so, your body has been busily attempting to fight the inflammation and repair the stretches, tears, and other damage to the fascia. At the same time, the fascia itself has been held in a contracted position.
When you set your foot down again, the fascia is suddenly forced to stretch back out again, and a lot of the repair work gets undone. Because the fascia has become tight and relatively inflexible, those first few moments of weight bearing can cause a sharp pain, until a few minutes of walking can suitably stretch it out again.
What’s the Solution?
Don’t worry—you aren’t going to be trapped in this cycle forever!
Effective treatment for plantar fasciitis does depend on a number of factors—for example, how severe the damage is to your fascia, what caused it in the first place, and your lifestyle.
The mildest cases may require not much more than rest and stretching. If you limit the amount of weight and pressure your fascia has to deal with on a daily basis, it may have the time and isolation it needs to complete its repair work.
However, rest alone may not be sufficient for some people. Perhaps you have structural or biomechanical issues with your feet that contribute to the daily strain, or have an occupation or lifestyle that doesn’t easily permit “resting” for an extended period of time.
In cases where further treatment is needed, Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates can offer options that are advanced, effective, and personalized to fit your unique needs! This may include cutting-edge modalities such as custom orthotics (to reduce biomechanical sources of stress) or laser therapy (to accelerate the natural healing process), or simpler ones like physical therapy, night splints, or new shoes.
Regardless, it’s always our goal to make sure you get rid of your pain and go back to living life the way you want to live it, as quickly as possible, using the simplest and most convenient methods that can get you there. The great news is that this almost never includes surgery—more than 95 percent of heel pain cases can be solved without it!
if you have any questions or are concerned about not being able to bear weight on your heels, please contact our office at (309) 661-9975 or click the button below. You can even find us on Facebook. We are always happy to answer questions!