Services & Treatments
Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis
Heel Pain and What We Can Do About It
The most common causes of heel pain is what is known as Plantar Fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the Plantar fascia, which is the structure that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This strong strip of tissue supports the arch of the foot.
When the foot is on the ground the full weight of the body is placed on the plantar fascia and this forces it to stretch as the arch flattens from the weight of the body. It is similar to an archer’s bow. Imagine the bow trying to straighten; this places a lot of strain on the string.
The stress on the plantar fascia can cause small tears where it attaches to the heel bone. These tears are normally repaired by our bodies, but repetitive stress of the area can result in incomplete healing and possibly bone spurs.
Are Your First Steps in the Morning Painful?
Bone spurs, inflammation of the plantar fascia or impingement of nerves in the feet can all cause pain in the heel. You may experience pain on or around the heel when weight is placed on the foot.
The pain is usually worst in the morning, especially with the first few steps after getting up out of bed. The fascia tightens up overnight so in most cases; there is no pain at night.
The first movement in the morning causes pulling of the fascia and results in pain that can be described as burning, sharp or stabbing. Pain usually reduces as the day goes on and the tissue has warmed up.
Standing for long periods, walking or getting up after sitting down for a long time can irritate the fascia. The most common causes of heel pain include:
- Wearing incorrect shoes while walking or running
- Diabetes (in the elderly)
- Pregnancy or recent weight gain
- An increase in jumping or running
- Flat feet, high arches or an abnormal gait
- In athletes, an overload of physical activity
Taking The Right Steps To Relieve Heel Pain
In most cases, plantar fasciitis does not require surgery and can be treated conservatively. However, every individual heals at a different pace. If you suffer from painful heel, the first thing you need to do is determine the cause. For example, you may need to replace your old, worn out shoes. You may need to rest if there has been a significant increase in your activity levels.
Give Us a Call
Depending on the problem, you may even need to see a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories and Podiatry to help reduce the pain and inflammation.
If you are suffering from excessive inflammation, your doctor may give you a cortisone shot. Most people suffering from painful heel find relief from the orthotics that our Podiatrists are able to prescribe. Our therapy usually includes stretching the calf muscles to help relieve the tension on the plantar fascia.
If your calf is really tight, the doctor may order a splint to be worn at night. This will provide a mild stretch on the calf muscles and the plantar fascia.
This can help to reduce the pain experienced in the morning. Patients experiencing plantar fasciitis are commonly prescribed Podiatry. Our therapists here at Central City Podiatry can design exercises to help improve the flexibility of the calf muscles and the plantar fascia.
Treatment Can Help
To help you recover as fast as possible we may use ultrasound, massage, electrical stimulation and ice packs. Depending on the anatomy of your foot, we may even recommend the use of an an orthotic.
We have a state of the art computer scanner that is able to measure how you walk to help diagnose the problem and provide a solution. Call our office today and we’ll help you take the right steps without pain.