One of the most common causes of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis. It occurs when the ligament that attaches your heel bone to the ball of your foot and toes (plantar fascia) becomes stressed and inflamed. This ligament supports the arch of your foot, so pain can also be felt in this region. Typically an overuse injury, it is often seen in athletes and those who live active lifestyles.
Why Would This Cause Heel Pain?
Plantar fasciitis often causes pain in the heel, where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone, or calcaneus. This is because the inflamed ligament can pull on and irritate the heel bone. This is especially true first thing in the morning due to the ligament becoming tight as you rest. It causes a sharp pain, with the first few steps as it tries to stretch. Sometimes, people also complain of sharp pain in their heel or arch after standing up from sitting a long period of time. This is called “post-static dyskinesia.”
Because of the repetitive pounding your feet endure from running, runners often suffer from plantar fasciitis. Carrying extra weight can put a lot of added stress on your feet, which is why those who are obese are also at risk. Wearing non-supportive shoes or standing for long hours on hard surfaces like concrete floors can also increase your chances of plantar fasciitis.
Easing Your Pain
Plantar fasciitis can be addressed with many different treatments. Initially, stretching, icing, and taping may help to ease discomfort. Stretching the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia specifically will help “loosen” the ligament, so that you are not placing extra pressure on the insertion site at the heel. Stretching is a great way to reduce the pain before getting out of bed in the morning, too, and should become part of your daily routine. Icing the heel and arch using a frozen water bottle can soothe symptoms as well. Simply, roll the water bottle under your foot from toe to heel to ice and massage the affected area.
Proper shoe gear with good arch support is also important in treating plantar fasciitis. Custom molded orthotics worn inside your shoes can help as well by providing additional support and comfort. You can also try steroid injections and oral anti-inflammatories to alleviate pain.
These are just a few of the many conservative treatment options for plantar fasciitis. For those patients who do not respond to conservative care, there are different surgical procedures that can be performed to put an end to your plantar fasciitis pain, including new surgical techniques with minimal incisions and the use of an endoscope.
We can discuss all of your options and help to determine the treatment that is best for you. Don’t let heel pain keep you from doing the things you love! Call today to make an appointment with a one of our expert podiatrists at Podiatry Care Specialists, PC We have 3 offices with late night and weekend hours for your convenience! Call us at (610) 431-0200 to schedule.
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