Every mile you walk puts tons of stress on each foot. Your feet can handle a heavy load, but too much stress pushes them over their limits. When you pound your feet on hard surfaces playing sports or wear shoes that irritate sensitive tissues, you may develop Heel Pain, the most common problem affecting the foot and ankle. A sore Heel will usually get better on its own without surgery if you give it enough rest. However, many people try to ignore the early signs of Heel pain and keep on doing the activities that caused it. When you continue to walk on a sore Heel, it will only get worse and could become a chronic condition leading to more problems.Surgery is rarely necessary.
Common causes of heel pain include, Heel Spurs, a bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. The spur, visible by X-ray, appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. When there is no indication of bone enlargement, the condition is sometimes referred to as “heel spur syndrome.” Heel spurs result from strain on the muscles and ligaments of the foot, by stretching of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot, and by repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone. These conditions may result from biomechanical imbalance, running or jogging, improperly fitted or excessively worn shoes, or obesity. Plantar Fasciitis, both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is common among athletes who run and jump a lot, and it can be quite painful. The condition occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension, causing the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length; this leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly the growth of a bone spur where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. The inflammation may be aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support, especially in the arch area, and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle. Resting provides only temporary relief. When you resume walking, particularly after a night’s sleep, you may experience a sudden elongation of the fascia band, which stretches and pulls on the heel. As you walk, the heel pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may be just a false sense of relief. The pain often returns after prolonged rest or extensive walking. Heel pain sometimes results from excessive pronation. Pronation is the normal flexible motion and flattening of the arch of the foot that allows it to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock in the normal walking pattern. As you walk, the heel contacts the ground first; the weight shifts first to the outside of the foot, then moves toward the big toe. The arch rises, the foot generally rolls upward and outward, becoming rigid and stable in order to lift the body and move it forward. Excessive pronation-excessive inward motion-can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the ligaments and tendons attaching to the bottom back of the heel bone. Excessive pronation may also contribute to injury to the hip, knee, and lower back. Pain at the back of the heel is associated with Achilles tendinitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and inserts on the back surface of the heel bone. It is common among people who run and walk a lot and have tight tendons. The condition occurs when the tendon is strained over time, causing the fibers to tear or stretch along its length, or at its insertion on to the heel bone. This leads to inflammation, pain, and the possible growth of a bone spur on the back of the heel bone. The inflammation is aggravated by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an active lifestyle and certain activities that strain an already tight tendon. Other possible causes of heel pain include rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis, including gout, which usually manifests itself in the big toe joint, an inflamed bursa (bursitis), a small, irritated sac of fluid; a neuroma (a nerve growth); or other soft-tissue growth. Such heel pain may be associated with a heel spur or may mimic the pain of a heel spur. Haglund’s deformity (“pump bump”), a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. This sometimes painful deformity generally is the result of bursitis caused by pressure against the shoe and can be aggravated by the height or stitching of a heel counter of a particular shoe, a bone bruise or contusion, which is an inflammation of the tissues that cover the heel bone. A bone bruise is a sharply painful injury caused by the direct impact of a hard object or surface on the foot.
Symptoms include a dull ache which is felt most of the time with episodes of a sharp pain in the centre of the heel or on the inside margin of the heel. Often the pain is worse on first rising in the morning and after rest and is aggravated by prolonged weight bearing & thin soled shoes.
A biomechanical exam by your podiatrist will help reveal these abnormalities and in turn resolve the cause of plantar fasciitis. By addressing this cause, the patient can be offered a podiatric long-term solution to his problem.
Non Surgical Treatment
Once diagnosed, treatment for plantar fasciitis may include one or more of the following: advice on footwear, in particular use of arch-supportive footwear; avoid walking barefoot; stretching exercises, shoe modifications such as heel pads, taping and strapping, anti-inflammatories and orthotic devices to correct abnormal foot mechanics. Injection therapy with corticosteroids is only advisable if all the conservative treatment methods mentioned above have been exhausted due to undesired effects implicated with steroid infusion in the heels.
Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment, a small percentage of patients may require surgery. If, after several months of non-surgical treatment, you continue to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. Your foot and ankle surgeon will discuss the surgical options with you and determine which approach would be most beneficial for you. No matter what kind of treatment you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventive measures. Wearing supportive shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
The following steps will help prevent plantar fasciitis or help keep the condition from getting worse if you already have it. The primary treatment is rest. Cold packs application to the area for 20 minutes several times a day or after activities give some relief. Over-the-counter pain medications can help manage the pain, consult your healthcare professional. Shoes should be well cushioned, especially in the midsole area, and should have the appropriate arch support. Some will benefit from an orthotic shoe insert, such as a rubber heel pad for cushioning. Orthotics should be used in both shoes, even if only one foot hurts. Going barefoot or wearing slipper puts stress on your feet. Put on supportive shoes as soon as you get out of bed. Calf stretches and stretches using a towel (place the towel under the ball of your feet and pull gently the towel toward you and hold a few seconds) several times a day, especially when first getting up in the morning. Stretching the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel is especially important before sports, but it is helpful for nonathletes as well. Increasing your exercise levels gradually. Staying at a healthy weight. Surgery is very rarely required.
Heel pain is a common complaint that can vary in severity from mild discomfort to completely debilitating. According to the Plantar Fasciitis Organization, more than 2 million Americans are affected by varying degrees of heel pain annually. Those most likely to suffer from heel pain include athletes who perform frequent low- to high-impact repetitive activities. Causes This is one of those things that makes you not care how you got it, you just want to get rid of it, NOW! But we do need to take a look at what causes Plantar Fasciitis in order to understand how to avoid it’s return and find the relief we so desperately seek.
Inflammation of the Achilles tendon causes heel pain. The Achilles tendon, which is the longest and strongest tendon in the body, is located in the back of the leg and is attached to the heel. It connects the leg muscles to the foot. The inflammation results from over stressing the tendon. People who exercise infrequently or poorly conditioned athletes have the highest risk for developing Achilles tendonitis. Achilles Tendon Bursitis Also, as part of the ageing process women tend to lose the bulk of the shock-absorbing ‘fibro-fatty’ pad under the ball of the foot. Without this natural padding pain develops due to the pressure on skin over bone.
Remember when we were young our parents would play this little piggy with our toes, and afterwards we held on the tradition with our own children, but not our own feet. Think of it, children do not suffer foot discomfort. (Okay, that is a big stretch however work with me here). When we wiggle our toes we are providing flow to them, therefore enhancing our flow overall. So go on, wiggle your toes, and sing the sing if you feel like it. About the Author Mar 25, 2011 By Michelle Matte Photo Caption Heel pain is one of the most common athletic injuries for children. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
PEMF of 5 to 15 G, from 7 Hz to 4 kHz used at the site of pain and related trigger points for 20 to 45 minutes also helps. Some patients remain pain free 6 months after treatment. Some return to jobs they had been unable to perform. Short-term effects are thought due to decrease in cortisol and noradrenaline and an increase serotonin, endorphins and enkephalins. Longer term effects may be due to CNS and/or peripheral nervous system biochemical and neuronal effects in which correction of pain messages occurs and the pain is not just masked as in the case of medication.
Most prominently, heel pain is in its prime during morning hours the foot is put down from the bed. Heel pain also accentuates on walking or running. Such pain is also triggered by shoes which does not fit well or those which have become worn. If there is tightness in the calf muscles or achilles tendon then it becomes worse. Preliminary diagnosis reveals that arch of the foot has lost its shape, calf muscles are tightened and there is a highly tender spot on the heel bone. An X-ray sometimes helps to reveal a heel spur (growth of additional bone). This symptom arises due to inflammation.
Top of foot pain is a general term that is used to describe a pain in the top surface of the foot. Top of foot pain is a sharp pain that can be found on the top surface of the foot near the second toe. There are times when the pain can be found around the 3rd and 4th metatarsal. Big toe pain can occur due to problems with tendons, bones or joints in your foot If big toe pain doesn’t go away on its own after a few days of rest, it may be a good idea to see your doctor.