Heel pain is one of the most common troubles we see come through our doors. Even so, we still don’t see it as often as we should. Many people gingerly step their way through life thinking heel pain is a normal part of “growing up.” It most certainly is not, however, and in most cases the problem can be traced to treatable causes.
A Band in Distress
The plantar fascia is a strong and hard-working band of fibrous tissue beneath the foot. This band runs from the heel bone to the base of the toes in the forefoot. Its main responsibility is supporting the arch of the foot.
While the plantar fascia is made to withstand the forces of normal daily movement, overuse or excessive force can cause damage to the tissue. This, in turn, leads to inflammation and pain.
One of the most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis is a shooting or stabbing pain in the heel. This happens either first thing in the morning or after a long period of sitting or standing. Once you get moving again, the band will “warm up” and the pain will recede.
Plantar fasciitis is frequently seen in runners, dancers, and others who engage in repetitive, high-impact activities. Being overweight, working a job that requires long periods standing on hard surfaces, and having pre-existing foot types such as flat feet or high arches can also place extra stress on the fascia and lead to inflammation.
Help Your Heels Help You
Above all, a painful plantar fascia is going to need rest in order to heal properly. Continuing to stress a weakened band may lead to chronic pain and other complications. Those who think their heel pain is a “normal part of life” might be leading toward a self-fulfilling prophecy if they’re not doing anything to address the problem.
There is plenty more that can be done, in addition to rest, to help with heel pain. The right forms of help may depend on your condition and lifestyle. Additional treatments can include:
- Stretching – Stretching the plantar fascia and connecting calf muscle can help relieve excess stress from the area, providing more opportunity for recovery and reducing the risk of recurring inflammation.
- Orthotics – If your heel pain has a foundation in your foot shape, using corrective devices can distribute pressure more naturally and relieve stress from the plantar fascia.
- Night Splits – This device can serve as a bit of a mix between the two above treatments. Wearing a splint at night can help stretch the calf and arch during sleep.
- Medication – Anti-inflammatory drugs can help provide comfort and reduce swelling in many cases. In more serious cases, steroid injections can do the same. Injections are best used sparingly, however, as they might weaken the plantar fascia over time.
- Surgery – Surgical intervention is seen only as a last resort if other treatments fail to provide proper relief. A surgical procedure might involve detaching the plantar fascia from the heel bone.
If you are suffering from heel pain due to plantar fasciitis or another unknown cause, don’t wait any longer to seek help. Call Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper at (812) 481-7200 to schedule an appointment today.