AMBLER, PA. (WPVI) -- Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot problems, and can be a frustrating one to get rid of.
However, the best treatments, and preventions are fairly simple.
Erin Conboy is always on her feet.
She danced as a child.
"I did ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical," she recalls, adding she danced from about age 5 until her late teens.
She also loved hiking, played several sports, and worked full-time while in college.
Four years ago, foot pain set in. The pain gradually increased till it became non-stop.
Erin tried to keep going, but finally went to Dr. Eric Gokcen of Temple Health.
"When I was walking, it felt like there was metal poles in my heels that were just digging into my heels," she says.
Dr. Gokcen, an orthopedic surgeon, says the pain comes from inflamed tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes.
"You get microscopic little tears within the plantar fascia, usually right at the point where it comes off of the heel bone," says Dr. Gokcen.
Because blood supply is poor there, the tears can't heal.
It's more common in middle age folks and with people who are overweight, but anyone can develop it.
"I've seen people in their 20s and people in their 70s and everything in between," says Dr. Gokcen.
"It's usually not because of any injury," he adds
But Dr. Gokcen says it does occur when someone accelerates their activity level too quickly.
To heal plantar fasciitis, he says, "The number one thing that helps it get better is doing specific stretching exercises where you're stretching the plantar fascia,"
Those exercises boost blood flow.
Dr. Gokcen says inserts and supportive shoes can ease symptoms
"They have a very rigid sole so they don't bend a lot. So that puts less stress on your foot. The bottom of it has a little bit of a curve to it, so when you step, it rolls better. They're really soft and cushy on the inside," he notes.
Erin's situation was a rare one which required surgery. But she's back on her feet, and glad she went to Dr. Gokcen.
"I can work 16-hour shifts and be all right," she says with a smile.