Harvard Men's Health Watch

Better shoes help you walk away from a common cause of heel pain

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Recovering from a flare-up of plantar fasciitis can take time and determination. Start with your shoes.

When men seek help for heel pain from Dr. Jim Ioli, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, the culprit is usually plantar fasciitis. This intensely painful condition affects the tough, fibrous band of connective tissue (fascia) on the bottom of the foot. The pain comes from the spot where the band attaches to the heel bone.

There's good news and bad news about plantar fasciitis, Dr. Ioli says: "Most of the time it will get better, but it could take some time." For a typical case of acute heel pain, expect it to take several months to improve.

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