Anyone’s feet can hurt after a long period of walking or standing, especially if their shoes aren’t supportive or comfortable. But older adults are more likely to have conditions such as arthritis and diabetes that can lead to foot discomfort. If you’re experiencing pain on the bottom of one or both feet near the heel — especially after a period of rest, such as a night’s sleep — you probably have plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the plantar fascia, tissue that runs along the bottom of the feet from heel to toe, becomes inflamed.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by stress on the fascia, which can come from overly tight muscles in the calves and feet. The trigger may be overuse or leaping back into activity after a sedentary period (playing tennis after a break of several months, for example). While this can happen to anyone, “over the last 25 years, we have seen it in more older adults, as they’re staying active into their 60s, 70s, or even 80s,” says Dan Michaels, DPM.