Survey - 2,655 responses40% of the visitors who fill out the survey have had heel pain over a year. Average age is 41. 85% said it's worse in the morning. 24% said it takes less than 5 minutes of being on their feet to cause the pain to increase. 36% do not know what caused it. When sitting, 22% have no pain and 7% have severe pain. The primary type of pain (visitors could choose only one) is sharp (38%), like a stone bruise (30%), throbbing (19%), or dull (10%), but rarely tingling or numb (2%). 37% have had injections. Male sufferers weigh 12 pounds above the average American male (which is already hefty) and female sufferers weigh 30 pounds above their counterparts (our data was compared to 1999 CDC data). 6 out of 7 of our heaviest visitors are female (n=442, BMI>=35). 27% who had an injection indicated the pain from the injection was "horrific". Journal articles report it's in both feet in 15% to 35% of the cases. Our surveys indicate it's in both feet 45% of the time, but only in 14% are they equally painful. Our visitors rank podiatrists, physical therapists, and acupuncture better than orthopedic surgeons. 8% of our visitors have had surgery. About 25% of the 209 surgeries reported have made it worse. 18% have not seen a doctor. 69% say it hurts to the touch. 97% say they have "heel pain". 72% are female (almost 3 out of 4). Tylenol had the lowest percentage of "helping" at 17% n=856, presumably because it is not an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, Aleve, and aspirin which rank higher at 49% helped and 3% harmed (n=1688). 30% claimed to have a high arch, 19% said flat foot, 40% said normal, and 10% said unknown. 35% said the pain increases if they walk less than 10 yards, but only 24% said the pain increases if they are "on their feet" for less than 5 minutes. 55% of americans are at least overweight (BMI>=25) and 22% are obese (BMI>=30). 74% (3 out of 4) of the respondents were at least overweight and 40% were obese. The top ranking treatments were, in order: heelspurs.com, rest, ice, tape, night splint, podiatrist, self tape, calf muscle stretch, physical therapist, fascia/foot stretch, shot.
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Single-Question SurveysI'm running short, one-question surveys on the home page to check the validity of the longer surveys. The questions are run only as long as it takes to achieve a desired statistical significance.
1997 and 1998 SurveysBetween October 1 and December 31, 1997 survey questionnaire #1 (here's the form that was used) was filled out 502 times (accidental duplicate entries were deleted). Between January 1, 1998 and September 31, 1998, a survey questionnaire #2 was filled out 802 times (here's the form that was used). The results of the two different designs were very consistent.
Out of 14 options, respondents could choose up to 3 as "helped the most" and up to 2 as "helped the least".
Judging from the numbers above, it appears night splints should be applied more often and injections should be tried less often.
Other Results of Survey #1 (502 Responses)Age (n=238, late question added to 1st survey):
1% in 10s
10% in 20s
30% in 30s
40% in 40s
15% in 50s
4% over 59
62% were female (n=255, late question added to 1st survey). This doesn't seem significant, but if it were a little higher, 66.67% would mean there are twice as many female as male patients.
47% had injections. 25% rated the pain from the injection as "horrific", 31% rated it "pretty bad", and 44% rated it "not too bad". (n=236)
Cause of the heel pain (n=494):
Number of doctors seen (n=493):
It hurts when (n=469):
16% said it hurt in the back of the heel, arch, front of foot, or other. 18% indicated entire foot or entire bottom of foot. 65% indicated bottom of heel or front bottom of heel.
Respondents who weighed 200 lbs or more (n=167) and specifically ranked "Lost Weight" (n=23) were more likely to indicate that losing weight had helped. They were also less likely to indicate that stretching helped (n=74). Those over 200 lbs did not rank arch support much different from the under-200 lbs group.
Respondents who had it for a year or more (n=236) ranked stretching (n=96) and ice (n=60) higher than the average respondent. They ranked heel pads (n=86) and pills (n=82) lower than the average respondent.
Respondents who explicity indicated the pain was in the bottom or front of the heel area (n=325) as opposed to the entire foot, back of heel, or arch, ranked surgery (n=19) and arch support (n=126) higher.
A difference in any category between those who indicated it was "painful when pressed with a finger" (62%) and the others could not be found.
Results of Survey #2 (802 responses)In response to the question "Have you stopped seeing a doctor to avoid further injections?" 17% of those that had shots said "yes". 14% said "sort of". This means up to 31% of the shots being applied are causing patients to avoid their doctor. If patients are avoiding the shots only because they are painful and since only 1/2 of the shots being applied are reported as painful, then up to twice as many (62%) of the painfully applied shots are causing patients to avoid the doctor. It has been said that doctors find heel pain boring and frustrating. I hesitate to suggest that some doctors have found a way to avoid the boredom and frustration.
Treatment from doctor: good=220, fair=334, bad=106.
Body-Mass Index (BMI) distribution (n=725):
20% of those who typed orthotics spelled it with a "d".
Combined Quesions from the 2 SurveysWeight (n=959):
Average = 182 pounds
25% 150 pounds or less
23% 151 to 175 pounds
20% 176 to 199 pounds
33% 200 pounds or more
The above percentages for the second survey results (n=729) were within 1% of the 1st survey (n=230, late question added to 1st survey).
How long they had it (n=1196 responses to this particular question):
It was not a specific question, but it appears between 6% and 8% of those who answered the surveys had surgery.