Heel pain is a common condition in which weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort.
Most people experience pain in the heel with their first steps in the morning, after getting out of bed. It is presented by a sharp stabbing pain at the bottom or front of the heel bone. The pain varies in severity. In most cases, heel pain is more severe following periods of inactivity (e.g. early in the morning or after sitting for a long period).
The pain will diminish throughout the day as the nerves and tissue adjust themselves and become accustomed to the inflamed area. However, after longer periods of inactivity (e.g. sitting at home or driving) heel pain will return stronger and sharper. It should be noted that many heel pain sufferers also experience tight calf muscles and tight Achilles Tendons (the ligament at the back of the heel).
To properly treat heel pain, you must absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. This can be accomplished with a heel cup, visco heel cradle, or an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and shear forces.
When the condition is pronation related (usually plantar fasciitis), an orthotic with medial posting and good arch support will control the pronation and prevent the inflammation of the plantar fascia.
Footwear selection is also an important criteria when treating heel pain. Shoes with a firm heel counter, good arch support, and appropriate heel height are the ideal choice.