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Heel pain? Try stretches, orthotics, new shoes

October 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis. It's one of the most common complaints people have when it comes to foot pain. But there are steps you can take to not only treat it, but prevent it.

Walking: Our feet average 115,000 miles of it in our lifetime. But with overuse feet can develop heel pain often caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the feet.

"Usually for the first week or two they'll write it off and say this is going to get a little bit better, they'll stretch maybe, but usually the symptoms don't go away," said sports physical therapist Christine Panagos.

Athletes and people who are either overweight or stand for long periods of time are most prone to plantar fasciitis.

Wearing old, worn-out shoes is another culprit. Make sure to replace yours every three to six months.

Early intervention includes a good balancing and stretching program.

If a stretching program doesn't help after six weeks, you may be referred to an orthotist for custom-made orthotics.

Before you spend a lot of money on pricey custom-made orthotics, experts recommend trying over-the-counter inserts first.

Another tip? Take a look at the soles of your shoes to see if there's a distinct wear pattern.

That can help a podiatrist tell whether or not you're over-pronating.


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