A Common Cause of Heel Pain

Experiencing heel pain can require severe modifications to a patient's lifestyle. Often times, heel pain is at its worst when getting out of bed in the morning. It can also regularly occur when going to sleep at night. If you frequently present with these symptoms, you may be dealing with a common condition known as Plantar Fasciitis. 
 
The plantar fascia is a thin band of muscle tissue spanning the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis simply translates to an inflammation of the muscle tissue.
 

Reasons why Plantar Fasciitis may occur:

1. Tightness in the ankle joint: the ankle's normal range of motion allows it to bend backwards during walking. Tightness in the ankle joint can lead to abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia causing inflammation.
 
2. Tightness in the muscle: the muscle itself as well as the muscles in the back of the leg can lead to micro-tears in the plantar fascia.
 
3. Unsupportive shoe gear: it is important to correctly support the arch of the foot to prevent collapse, which in-turn will abnormally stretch the fascia.
 

Tips for Plantar Fasciitis treatment and prevention:

1. Stretching: It is important to stretch the posterior leg muscles to ensure appropriate range of motion of the ankle joint! 
 
2. Supportive shoes: sneakers such as Asics will provide ample arch support to prevent medial foot collapse
 
3. Intervention: a visit to the foot doctor is a must to correctly diagnose plantar fasciitis. Often times, a steroid injection or anti-inflammatory medication is needed to boost treatment.
 
My doctor told me I have heel spurs! This is why I have heel pain - Wrong! Heel spurs, contrary to popular belief, DO NOT cause pain. It is actually the stretching of the plantar fascia that is causing pain. Many people have large heel spurs and never experience heel pain!
 
In summary, heel pain can be a life-altering symptom. It is important to obtain a proper diagnosis and intervention to return to a normal, healthy lifestyle. Know that you have options, from a more conservative approach to surgical treatment. Do not hesitate to make an appointment if you have any questions!
Author
Dr. Suchir Sheth, DPM

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