Yes, high heels can cause plantar fasciitis over time. It is unlikely that you will develop plantar fasciitis if you occasionally wear high heels. However, if high-heeled shoes are part of your everyday wardrobe or if you have other risk factors, then you need to know about this painful foot condition and what you can do about it.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
If you experience heel pain, you may wonder if you have plantar fasciitis. Some common plantar fasciitis symptoms include:
- Heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is typically characterized by a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of the foot that is worse upon first waking up and when standing or walking after being inactive for extended periods of time. Over time, the pain may become more constant and intense.
- Swelling. Inflammation of the plantar fascia can cause swelling around the heel area.
- Limping. People experiencing plantar fasciitis may limp or shuffle their feet when walking due to the discomfort associated with this condition.
These symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions. Accordingly, seeing an experienced podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options is essential.
How High Heels Can Cause Plantar Fasciitis
The link between high heels and conditions like plantar fasciitis is well known. High heels can lead to plantar fasciitis because high heels:
- Force the arch of your foot into an unnatural position. This can cause excessive strain, inflammation, tearing, and pain.
- Don’t support your heel. High heels don’t provide support or cushioning for your heel. The hard surface your heel hits with each step can cause plantar fasciitis.
- Can cause the Achilles tendon to shorten. The Achilles tendon is a large band of tissue that runs from the back of your heel to your calf. Wearing high heels may cause this tendon to shorten as if you are standing on your toes. The shortening pulls on another part of the foot—the plantar fascia—which can lead to long-term stress and ultimately cause plantar fasciitis.
Unfortunately, simply switching shoe styles may not be enough to reverse the damage done by wearing high-heeled shoes.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options
While changing out of your high heels may not be enough to relieve your plantar fasciitis pain, other treatment options are available. After a plantar fasciitis diagnosis, your podiatrist may explain the pros and cons of the following treatment options:
- Home care options. In some cases, rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications may help relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy, yoga, and specific foot stretches can help the plantar fascia heal in some cases.
- MLS laser therapy. MLS or Multiwave Locked System technology is a state-of-the-art therapy with practically no side effects. It does not use medication or surgery. Instead, a pair of lasers are used to stimulate the cells within your body. This stimulation can heal tissue, relieve pain, and increase blood flow.
- PRP therapy. PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma therapy uses the platelets already in your body to heal foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis. Your podiatry team will take a small amount of blood from you and spin it to separate the plasma from other blood cells. The plasma cells are then injected into your foot to promote your body’s natural healing abilities.
- Custom orthotics. Orthotics that are made for your unique feet can provide the necessary support to force your feet into the proper position and alleviate pain associated with plantar fasciitis and other conditions. Our office uses Go 4-D technology to ensure the right fit for your feet.
Your podiatrist will recommend a treatment plan based on your unique injury, overall health, and goals.