If you are overweight and suffer from pain in your feet that radiates from your heel, you are not alone. Almost one quarter of overweight people suffer from plantar fasciitis, a debilitating condition that causes heel pain and can limit a person’s ability to walk or exercise. It is estimated that one out of every ten people will suffer from heel pain at some point in his or her life.
Being overweight and suffering from heel pain can create a vicious cycle. We all know that exercise is a key component to losing weight. The problem is that heel pain often strikes when you put more stress on your feet by increasing your physical activity. If heel pain then forces you to limit exercise, it becomes challenging to lose weight and can actually cause an increase in weight. Increasing weight and a sedentary lifestyle can cause more heel pain and other common health problems, such as depression and heart disease.
The good news is that when properly treated, most heel pain improves in 6 to 8 weeks. The bad news is that most people do not have the information to properly treat it. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that 2 million people seek treatment for plantar fasciitis every year in the United States, and several million more go untreated. Those who don’t seek treatment often hope that plantar fasciitis will just go away on its own ? which it usually doesn’t.
Daniel Marein-Efrón, founder of a new company called Heeling Solutions, suffered from heel pain and weight gain for over a year. He became frustrated with his lack of improvement after investing thousands of dollars in special foot devices and visits to the podiatrist. He sought out the nation’s experts on the subject of heel pain and found that the solution did not involve surgery or a magic pill, but several months of special stretches, icing, extra support for his feet and modifications to his lifestyle. After several months of sticking to this regimen, he was free of plantar fasciitis and training for a marathon.
“The first steps to relieving heel pain can be as simple as stretching your foot before getting out of bed in the morning, icing your foot regularly and wearing proper footwear,” says Jeffrey S. Peterson, M.A., M.D Northern California Institute of Sports Medicine. “Many people also require additional steps such as using orthotics in their shoes or wearing a supportive foot device at night called a night splint.”
How do you know if you have plantar fasciitis? Only a licensed medical professional can confirm your diagnosis. Seek out a practitioner who specializes in conditions of the foot and ankle, such as a podiatrist or orthopedist. The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is intense pain with the first few steps in the morning. It can strike people of any age and is most common in people who are runners, overweight or spend a lot of time on their feet.
Daniel Marein-Efron is a former plantar fasciitis sufferer and President of Heeling Solutions LLC. Mr. Marein-Efron has been involved with a variety of entrepreneurial business through his consulting company DMEX Consulting LLC.