Tanja Hilbert: Plantar heel spur

For dentist Tanja Hilbert, at times every step had become painful. The diagnosis: plantar heel spur with accompanying plantar fasciitis. In an interview, she relates how the igli Heel* foot orthotics from medi helped her to once again manage daily life without pain.

igli heel carbon foot orthotics

“The igli Heel* from medi makes my life a lot easier – in my practice, in my free time and at home.”

At first, taking walks and jogging in the fresh air sound like healthy activities. But for dentist Tanja Hilbert, at times every step had become painful. The diagnosis: plantar heel spur with accompanying plantar fasciitis. Her top priority was to rest instead of getting exercise. For her job, however, she has to be on her feet a lot. igli Heel* foot orthotics from medi have helped her to once again manage everyday life without pain. In an interview, she reports on the diagnostic work-up, the therapy by Dr Stephan Biesenbach – a specialist in surgery and trauma surgery as well as the medical director of an outpatient rehabilitation facility – and explains why she wears trainers even while brushing her teeth.

Ms Hilbert, please give us some brief insight into the progression of your illness.

“My symptoms started with the first Corona-related lockdown in 2020. I was working less than ever before, and instead started jogging again and went for a lot of walks. Suddenly I felt pain in my heel – sometimes more intense, sometimes less intense. At first I tried to ignore the symptoms, but as they got progressively worse I finally asked my GP for advice. I stopped jogging, but the pain increased and stayed with me all day: from extreme pain while walking in the morning to severe inflammatory pain at night. Then my GP then sent me for an X-ray, which revealed a diagnosis: plantar heel spur."

What did the first steps in your therapy look like after your were diagnosed with plantar heel spurs?

“I wanted to make my daily life as active and pain-free as it had been before the plantar heel spurs. My treating physician Dr Biesenbach dedicated quite a bit of time to my case and took a careful overall medical history. Together we determined a possible cause of my plantar heel spurs, namely slight twisting while I was taking a walk. Then we tried different things: I went to the physiotherapist for manual therapy twice a week, took care of my feet, and bought myself special sports shoes for everyday use. Dr Biesenbach also injected cortisone directly at the pressure point. But that didn't alleviate my pain either. Next stop: MRI. This is where the cause of my severe pressure pain was uncovered: an inflammation on the tendon plate, or so-called plantar fasciitis. To successfully treat my foot, I had to immobilize it.”

You received the medi igli Heel* as a aid post-immobilization. When did you wear the special foot orthotics?

“All day long, even at home! My family hardly even remembers a time when I didn’t wear the shoes. Because of my acute pain, my trainers with the igli Heel* were right next to my bed. After getting up, my routine was as follows: Move my feet slightly and slip straight into the shoes – I even went to the bathroom with them.”

You wear the igli Heels* all day. How do you describe the user comfort?

“The igli Heel* is very comfortable to wear. On the first day it still felt strange – almost a bit like muscle cramp. But I got used to it very quickly, and now I don't even notice that I'm wearing foot orthotics. One that is particularly impressive: My feet don't get sweaty or smelly. And that was despite the fact that I wear the foot orthotics all day – in the practice, in my free time and at home.”

And how do you like the look?

“The igli Heel*, with its bright colours, is much livelier and more modern than the earlier brown versions. But for me, how well it works is even more important than how it looks!”

To what extent did the igli Heel* help you relieve your pain?

“At first I was supposed to keep my foot still and, for example, put it up during the breaks at work. Afterwards, I would walk or run only if I was wearing shoes with igli foot orthotics – since the pain when stepping onto that foot would disappear completely. A few weeks ago, I started increasing my activity level again, went for a lot of walks, and installed a pedometer app. Then I noticed the following: I walk or run between eight to ten kilometres a day – two to four kilometres in my practice alone. That means that I am on my feet a lot, and the igli Heel* took the pressure off the painful area of my heel as much as possible. This specific foot orthotic was the optimal solution for me, because it makes my life a lot easier.”

The medi igli Heel* comes with a fascia roller and the accompanying exercises. How do you like the holistic therapy concept?

“The starting of therapy, in particular, can be overwhelming: You want to stop the pain, but often you don't know exactly how. For that, the instructions with the accompanying exercises are very helpful. I received specific exercises from Dr Biesenbach for my plantar fasciitis, and I have made them a part of my daily life. The combination of foot orthotics and exercises that go along with the therapy I find super and helpful.”

Dear Ms Hilbert, thank you very much for the kind and informative interview! We hope you continue to feel better.