I woke up yesterday morning with a sore heel. My first thought was that it was bruised, because that's what it feels like. And it may very well be that I stepped on a rock or something and bruised my heel pad, although surely if I stepped hard enough to leave a bruise, I'd remember, wouldn't I? Or maybe I have an early warning sign of plantar fasciitis. From what I've read, and from what a few Facebook friends have shared, my symptoms might fit the profile of plantar fasciitis. (You can read about this condition here or you can google it for more information than you ever wanted to know!)
Mind you, the wiki page says: "Sometimes ball-of-foot pain is mistakenly assumed to be derived from plantar fasciitis. A dull pain or numbness in the metatarsal region of the foot could instead be metatarsalgia (aka stone bruise), also called capsulitis." I'm not diagnosing myself with this, or any particular condition. If my heel pain persists, I'll be going to see my doctor for sure. But I am concerned enough to take some precautions, like stretching exercises and also might pop up to the pharmacy and see what orthotics they have for arch support. I do have high arches, and that increases risk of getting plantar fasciitis. Women are also more prone to getting it.
According to this article on CBC's website, causes can include overloading the plantar fascia by "increasing your exercise activity too much, too quickly — like adding too many kilometres to your running or walking program." Say, perhaps power walking a km to meet a friend and then walking together another 3-5 kms over the lunchhour? (Which I did Friday, not that walking 5 kms is unusual for me, but I haven't been out much lately so am a tad out of shape.) So I figure better safe than sorry, and certainly adding some stretching to my daily routine won't be a bad thing in any case!
Here's a video I found on youtube that has a good summary of this condition and ways to help ease the pain and prevent flareups: