BETHESDA, Md., May 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Members of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) have noted an increase in reports of heel pain from patients stuck and home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. APMA member podiatrists are physicians and surgeons who treat the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg, and they say footwear—or lack thereof—may be to blame for the upsurge in cases.
“Adults are shifting routines and adapting to new working environments, and it’s easy to neglect proper care and support for your feet,” said APMA member podiatrist and spokesperson Priya Parthasarathy, DPM. “Many podiatrists now have telehealth and in-person appointments. Foot and heel pain is never normal, so see your podiatrist right away!”
Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain, is inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. This condition may cause intense pain in the heel, along with redness, swelling, or heat. This pain may be most acute when a patient takes the first step in the morning or after sitting. Many Americans in quarantine are wearing unsupportive shoes—or wearing no shoes at all—which can contribute to inflammation.
“The top priority when treating plantar fasciitis is to reduce the mechanical strain on the plantar fascia with arch supports and supportive footwear,” said APMA President Seth A. Rubenstein, DPM. “Most cases of plantar fasciitis respond well to conservative (non-surgical) treatment, including anti-inflammatory measures and stretching. However, podiatrists are also well-trained to provide advanced, cutting-edge treatments, including EPAT therapy, platelet-rich plasma injections, and surgical intervention, for more complex cases.”
Although some patients assume all heel pain is attributable to plantar fasciitis, many conditions can cause similar symptoms. Seeing a local APMA-member podiatrist at the first sign of heel pain allows for proper diagnosis and treatment. Other causes of heel pain include heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, and excessive pronation.