Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Take Steps for Heel Pain

Take Steps to Overcome Heel Pain
Heel pain can halt our ability to exercise, and may sometimes keep us from going about our daily activities. While our awareness of the pain is usually an annoyance, it also serves as a warning sign that something is wrong with a part of our body, and that if we continue to perform a certain activity, further damage may occur. Pain is most often associated with some type of injury to a tendon, muscle, ligament, or soft tissue. Today, we will be focusing on heel pain. A recent survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that over 40% of Americans have experienced at least one episode of heel pain in the past year. While there are many conditions which cause heel pain, we’ll focus our discussion of one of the most common causes: plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a fibrous band of connective tissue that runs along the sole (or plantar surface) of the foot. This fibrous band (the fascia) flexes with every step taken, and serves to support the natural arch of the foot. Sometimes, the band can be over-stretched, causing microscopic tears which leads to inflammation and pain. One of the most common symptoms people complain of is a sharp stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel right after getting up off the bed. A heel spur is usually a byproduct of plantar fasciitis and not the actual cause of the pain. The pain associated with the inflammation is further aggravated by prolonged ambulation, walking barefoot, or by shoes that do not properly support the foot. If left untreated, the problem can become chronic and may lead to tearing of the fascia and the formation of scar tissue.
What to do: Avoid walking barefoot for long distances whenever possible. Use supportive shoes with a stiff heel counter that does not flex when you grab both ends of the shoe and try to twist. Avoid old shoes that have excessive wear on the soles. Click here for more information on how to choose a good shoe. Always warm up properly before exercising. Know your limits when exercising and avoid over-exerting yourself. Fatigue during exercise may lead to improper form which can lead to injury. If you are too short for your weight, losing weight can take unneeded stress off of your feet. Over the counter orthotics (inserts that are placed in the bottom of your shoes) are sold at specialty shoe stores and may help relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Using a tennis ball or a frozen water bottle to massage and stretch the bottom of your foot can help control inflammation and relieve pain. Over the counter anti inflammatory medications may also be helpful.
If your heel pain lasts for longer than a month, it is recommended that you visit a podiatrist. Your podiatrist is specifically trained to diagnose and treat all conditions related to the foot and ankle. Sometimes, a cortisone injection is given in the bottom of the foot to rapidly decrease the inflammation. Your podiatrist can also prescribe custom made orthotics for your shoes to help you heal and prevent the condition from returning. For more information on plantar fasciitis and how to treat it, visit http://www.familyfootcare.info/.

1 comment:

  1. great tips, quite helpful for the person suffering my foot pain.