What causes heel pain?

Heel pain is not caused by heel spurs! Read on to learn what realy causes this painful condition.

Everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who has heel pain. The age-old myth is that heel pain is caused by heel spurs, and this is FALSE. So what is the cause of heel pain? In a nutshell, there are microtears in a ligament, the plantar fascia, that lead to heel pain. When standing, the foot will flatten, leading to elongation of the foot and stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is not made to stretch, so it tears. When you go to bed or sit down, the body tries to heel those tears, and when standing again, the plantar fascia tears, and the pain cycle starts all over again.

Most likely, the pain won’t go away, but occasionally it does. Most people who come in to see me have tried over-the-counter arch supports, anti-inflammatories, and changing shoes.  Typically this hasn’t helped, so treatment has been sought. The best long-term treatment option is orthotics, which are custom-made from a mold of your foot – liken it to prescription eyeglasses, if you will. Often times a cortisone injection will help, but it’s short-term and the pain can come back.Stretching of the calf muscle is also an option, although it takes a lot of stretching to achieve the desired result.

Very, very seldom does this condition need surgery — at least in my office. Heel pain, or plantar fasciitis, can be a nagging injury that won’t go away, but professional treatment is available when self-treatment fails.

Learn more about Planter Fasciitis by clicking here. If you are suffering from persistent heel pain, please see a podiatrist.  If you are in the Brighton/Thornton area, stop by our offices.

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