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The most common cause of heel pain is plantar faucets which is commonly referred to as a heel spur. Plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel to the toes. Plantar faucets is the proper term for inflammation of the plantar fascia. It can be a very painful condition. Chronic inflammation causes deposits of calcium to form at the point where the plantar fascia inserts into the heel. This appears as a sharp thorn like heel spur on x-ray. The heel spur is not painful itself, the pain arises from the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Symptoms include a dull ache which is felt most of the time with episodes of a sharp pain in the center 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. The radiation of pain indicates nerve irritation related to the inflammation.
Long periods of standing, incorrect footwear for activity, thin sole shoes, flattening of arch, tightening of plantar fascia due to tight/inflexible calf muscles, obesity and arthritis.
Treatment begins with ice and Anti-inflammatories to deal with inflammation. Soaking foot in warm water with Epsom's salts also relieves the ache. Try gel heel inserts, and alternate hot and cold gel packs- Use ice pack in morning and heat pack in the evening.Your Podiatrist can provide special orthotics, to correct over-pronation and arch problems. Dorsal night splints stabilize and support foot in a neutral position.
Do stretching exercises for plantar fascia and calf every day, twice a day if tolerated. Stretch until you feel resistance but not pain. For a list of stretching exercises go to:
Steroid injections and surgery are only recommended when orthotics treatment and non invasive treatment have failed. For more information on this condition and it's treatments go to:
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