Painful Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs - Understanding these foot conditions
Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs affect the foot and can cause pain and discomfort. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, while heel spurs are small bony growths that develop on the heel bone. In this article, we will examine the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.
The exact cause of plantar fasciitis is not clear, but it is often related to overuse of the plantar fascia which then becomes tight and irritated. Remember that it maintains the arch of your foot and acts as a shock absorber. Risk factors for the condition include activities that put repetitive stress on the feet, such as running, jumping, and standing for long periods.
Heel spurs develop due in part to the fact that the plantar fascia attaches at the back, to the heel bone and if this is tight it can continually “pull” on the tissues that attach the fascia to the bone and then cause small “micro” bleeds which over a period of time solidify due to the laying down of calcium deposits – effectively new bone, creating a spur which sticks out and can cause local and severe pain on the heel.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp pain in the heel or the bottom of the foot, especially when first standing up after sitting or lying down. The pain may improve with activity but worsen with increased activity or weight-bearing. Heel spurs can also cause pain, but the pain is usually less intense and is often described as a dull ache.
Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and heel spurs typically involves a physical examination, medical history review, and imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI. Oftentimes plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are miss-diagnosed, with the term being used generally or vaguely.
Treatment for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs depends on the severity of the condition. Non-surgical treatments, such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Stretching and physical therapy may also be recommended to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles in the foot and leg.
In more severe cases, custom orthotics, braces, or corticosteroid injections may be recommended. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to release the tight plantar fascia or remove the heel spur.
Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs can be painful and disruptive, but with proper treatment, the conditions can be managed effectively. If you are experiencing foot pain, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. With the right care, you can alleviate pain and get back to your active lifestyle. The Spine Health Centre fortunately has a great deal of experience in managing these 2 painful conditions.