Heel spurs, also known as plantar fasciitis, is a common foot ailment located in the bottom of the heel. The condition is marked by pain experienced when getting up or after a period at rest. They tend to worsen throughout the day, especially if you are constantly standing. The pain is caused due to slight changes in the structure of the foot that happens over time. As the foot changes, the arch gradually flattens out. While this is happening, a thick ligament attached to the underside of the heel and the ball of the foot is stretched excessively. This excessive stretching and resulting inflammation is what causes symptoms of pain.
Tightness of the calf muscles is a common factor that contributes to the severity of this condition. People who walk long distances for their source of physical activity and women who wear high heeled shoes will usually develop heel spurs due to tightness in the calf muscle as a result. Poorly-fitting shoes and other footwear can contribute to the condition. Weight gain can also put people at risk for developing heel pain.
Stretching is the first line of defense against this condition. Basic stretches such as the runner's stretch is good at strengthening the area. It is best if you stretch three times a day, ten reps each time and holding each rep for ten seconds. As with any form of exercise, it is always a good idea to stretch the calf muscles before and after a workout.
There are over the counter supports that can help relieve pain. These simple devices take some of the pressure off the heel and thereby reduce symptoms. If these are not effective, medications like Tylenol or Advil may offer some relief.
It is a good idea to wear a supportive shoe. At East Ocean Podiatry, we have a plethora of treatment options available: cortisone injection, taping the foot to add support to the arch, night splints to stretch the calf muscles and custom orthotic devices. On occasion, stubborn cases may require surgery to cure heel spurs. Recovery time is dependent on a variety of factors, including severity of the condition. Contact us today for an appointment and don't let your heel pain go unattended!
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