By Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland
February 25, 2014
Is heel pain keeping you down? In pursuit of healthy bodies, pain is often the enemy. Pain that occurs right after an injury or early in an illness may play a protective role, often warning us about the damage we have suffered. Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition in which a band of tissue in the sole of the foot becomes inflamed, leading to severe heel pain. The heel pain can be so bad that it hurts to walk, much less exercise or do daily activities. When you experience heel pain, our Olney podiatrists, Dr. Marc Goldberg, Dr. Christopher Farnworth, and Dr. Michael Frank are available to help you understand heel pain and your symptoms.
Understanding Heel Pain in Olney
Plantar fasciitis, or heel pain, occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension. This causes the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length, leading to inflammation, pain and possibly the growth of a bone spur where it attaches to the heel bone.
Inflammation may become irritated by shoes that lack appropriate support, mainly in the arch area and by the constant irritation associated with an athletic lifestyle. Resting may provide temporary relief, but when you resume walking you may experience a sudden elongation of the fascia band, which stretches and pulls on the heel. As you walk the pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may just be a false sense of relief as the pain often will return after prolonged rest or extensive walking.
As a resident of Olney, take steps now to avoid heel pain, such as:
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
Are Heel Spurs the Culprit?
Another common cause of heel pain is the heel spur, which is a bony growth on the underside of your heel bone. The spur is visible by x-ray and appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. When there is no indication of a bone enlargement, the condition is sometimes referred to as heel spur syndrome.
Heel spurs are the result of a strain on the muscles and ligaments of the foot. This is caused by the stretching of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot. With repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone, your pain will persist.
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation persist, you should limit your normal daily activities and contact Dr. Marc Goldberg, Dr. Christopher Farnworth, and Dr. Michael Frank, our podiatrists in Olney, about heel pain immediately. With a proper diagnosis, we can get you back on the path to healthy, happy feet.