Chronic Heel Pain
Heel pain is a common complaint for athletes, runners and the non-athletic individual. There can be a number of causes for pain in one or both heels.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation and irritation of the tight tissue forming the arch of the foot. The most common cause of heel pain, it typically affects men, aged 40 - 70 who are physically active. The bottom or inside of the foot and / or heel (where heel and arch meet) may hurt or cause severe pain upon standing after resting -- or most often, when arising in the morning. The pain is usually experienced within the first few steps and is often characterized as "walking on nails" or knife blades. The pain may let up after walking a bit but most commonly returns after prolonged movement or a rest.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
Pain in the bottom of the heel is the most common symptom. The pain is often described as a knife-like, pinpoint pain that is worse in the morning and generally improves throughout the day. By the end of the day the pain may be replaced by a dull ache that improves with rest. The pain results from stretching the damaged tissues. For the same reason atheletes' pain occurs during beginning stages of exercise and is relieved over time as warm-up loosens the fascia. Plantar fasciitis onset is usually gradual, only flaring up during exercise. If pain is ignored, it can eventually interfere with walking and overall, plantar fasciitis accounts for about ten percent of all running injuries.
Relieving Plantar Fasciitis Pain:
First thing in the morning, before getting out of bed -- massage the bottom of the affected foot or feet for at least five minutes. Ensure that the plantar is stretched and warmed up so that overnight healing remains intact.
Before stepping out of bed, be sure that you have soft, padded, supportive shoes or slippers to wear - especially if your flooring is hard -- tile or uncarpeted flooring.
If pain continues, or is acute, contact Dr. Jeffers -- (858) 452-7770
Heel spurs are commonly assumed to be caused by plantar fasciitis but research has revealed that this is not necessarily the case. X-rays show that heel spurs are found in people with and without plantar fasciitis. The bone spur itself is extra bone that usually forms as a result of pressure, stress or rubbing that continues for a prolonged period of time.
Treatment may be oriented to the symptoms or causes of the bone spur itself. Weight loss, for example, can take some pressure off the foot and heel. Other treatments can include orthotics, shoe padding, ice, rest, anti-inflammatories and stretching.
Other causes of Heel Pain can be:
Achilles tendinitis, Bone bruising, Bone cysts, Bursitis, Fractures, Gait problems, Gout, Heel pad overuse, wear and tear, Neuroma, Osteomyelitis, Peripheral neuropathy, Pinched nerves, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ruptured achilles tendon, Sciatica, Stress fractures, Tarsal tunnel syndrome, and Tendinitis.