I recently had a patient complaining of heel pain. They told me that when they woke up one morning and out of the blue had heel pain on their right foot. They told me that when they first got out of bed it was sensitive to step on, and as the day wore on they began limping and wincing from the pain. As a physical therapist my first thought, other than ‘ouch’, was ‘why did this happen?’ Not in the Nancy Kerrigan way, but what is the reason that this pain began.
My first question was whether they had hit their heel on something or stepped on something but they denied any recollection of an incident like that and told me they hadn’t run for a couple of weeks. In searching for another cause I thought of footwear, and bingo! That was it! Not the whole picture but probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. They told me that they had started wearing some new cowboy boots and had worn them every day for 2 weeks.
You may be asking yourself, ‘so what?’ Allow me to explain: The change in the height of the heel of their footwear had caused the pain. See, when the heel is taller it actually affects the calf muscle by allowing it to become tighter or shorter. Then, when only wearing flat shoes, or no shoes, that tight muscle is overstretched as we reach our heel all the way down to the floor. Getting into more detail will make this too hard to follow. But after doing targeted stretching to what I calculated to be the problematic muscles, their pain diminished that evening and was gone by the next afternoon.
If heel pain or something similar is limiting your mobility and you want to heal it (pun intended!!!) and learn how to manage it, give us a call! We are happy to do a phone consult, a free evaluation or send you a free report on how physical therapy can help you! Call or email us, your body will thank you!