Do you dread getting out of bed every morning due to really nasty heel pain?

Does it almost feel like you’re stepping on hot coals?

“A sharp burning pain in the heel area is one of the most telltale signs of plantar fasciitis,” says Bob Thompson, certified pedorthist, executive director of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health (

A pedorthist is a medical professional who specializes in designing footwear and devices to alleviate foot pain.

“Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the dense band of fibrous tissue that functions as the main support for the arch of the foot,” continues Thompson.

Shutterstock/By Alila Medical Media

“Plantar fasciitis is most frequently caused by a sudden increase in the level or intensity of activities, overuse, faulty biomechanics (for example overpronation, high-arched feet or other gait-related issues), being overweight, extended periods of standing on hard surfaces and poorly designed footwear.”

I used to have plantar fasciitis in both feet, having developed at the same time.

The trigger was walking on my heels, on a treadmill, wearing hiking boots.

I wanted to break in the boots for extended hikes, and perhaps I got bored just walking on the machine.

So I decided to walk on my heels to target more of the anterior tibialis muscle in the front of the lower leg.

Though I was really into fitness, the risk of plantar fasciitis from walking on my heels didn’t occur to me.

“The sudden pain one experiences when first stepping out of bed in the morning is typically a result of the affected foot’s having been in a relaxed, plantarflexed position (pointing downward) during the night,” says Thompson.

“When the foot is tensed and stretched into a dorsiflexed position (heel down, toes up) to bear weight when the person gets out of bed, it stretches and tears the already inflamed plantar fascia away from its attachment point on the calcaneus (heel bone), causing the sudden and intense pain.”

bob thompsonRobert Thompson is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of preventive foot health and soft tissue injury prevention.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/catinsyrup