The heel is a cushion of fatty tissue that protects the structures of the foot, including the heel bone, muscles and ligaments. Heel Pain
is a common foot complaint. Complications include plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Sever's disease is a common
cause of heel pain in children. A podiatrist can help diagnose and treat heel pain. The heel is a padded cushion of fatty tissue around the heel bone (the calcaneus) that holds its shape despite the
pressure of body weight and movement. It serves to protect the structures of the foot, including the calcaneus, muscles and ligaments. Heel pain is a very common foot complaint. Anyone can suffer
from heel pain, but certain groups seem to be at increased risk, including, middle-aged men and women, physically active people, people who are overweight or obese, people who are on their feet for
long periods of time, children aged between eight and 13 years (particularly boys) and women during pregnancy.
The plantar fascia spans the long arch of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes, where it blends with the soft tissues, then anchoring to the base of the toes. Plantar Fascia. The plantar
fascia is a common cause of heel pain. As the bony attachment at the heel is considered the plantar fascia?s ?weak spot?, the patient will present with pain at the heel, mainly on the inside. The
most common predisposing factor to this condition is the pronating (flattening feet) - 52% - whilst there is also some evidence that a very high arch, in a rigid foot (pes cavus), also was reasonably
common - 42%.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis vary, but the classic symptom is pain after rest--when you first get out of bed in the morning, or when you get up after sitting down for a while during the day. The
pain usually diminishes after a few minutes of walking, sometimes even disappearing, but the pain is commonly felt again the longer you're on the foot. Fasciitis can be aggravated by shoes that lack
appropriate support, especially in the arch area, and by the chronic irritation of long-periods of standing, especially on concrete, by being overweight. It doesn't help that fascia doesn't heal
particularly quickly because it has relatively poor circulation (which is why it's white in colour).
After you have described your foot symptoms, your doctor will want to know more details about your pain, your medical history and lifestyle, including. Whether your pain is worse at specific times of
the day or after specific activities. Any recent injury to the area. Your medical and orthopedic history, especially any history of diabetes, arthritis or injury to your foot or leg. Your age and
occupation. Your recreational activities, including sports and exercise programs. The type of shoes you usually wear, how well they fit, and how frequently you buy a new pair. Your doctor will
examine you, including. An evaluation of your gait. While you are barefoot, your doctor will ask you to stand still and to walk in order to evaluate how your foot moves as you walk. An examination of
your feet. Your doctor may compare your feet for any differences between them. Then your doctor may examine your painful foot for signs of tenderness, swelling, discoloration, muscle weakness and
decreased range of motion. A neurological examination. The nerves and muscles may be evaluated by checking strength, sensation and reflexes. In addition to examining you, your health care
professional may want to examine your shoes. Signs of excessive wear in certain parts of a shoe can provide valuable clues to problems in the way you walk and poor bone alignment. Depending on the
results of your physical examination, you may need foot X-rays or other diagnostic tests.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment of plantar fasciitis begins with first-line strategies, which you can begin at home. Stretching exercises. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles help ease pain and assist with
recovery. Avoid going barefoot. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia. Ice. Putting an ice pack on your heel for 20 minutes several times a day helps
reduce inflammation. Place a thin towel between the ice and your heel; do not apply ice directly to the skin. Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest. Shoe
modifications. Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia. Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
At most 95% of heel pain can be treated without surgery. A very low percentage of people really need to have surgery on the heel. It is a biomechanical problem and it?s very imperative that you not
only get evaluated, but receive care immediately. Having heel pain is like having a problem with your eyes; as you would get glasses to correct your eyes, you should look into orthotics to correct
your foot. Orthotics are sort of like glasses for the feet. They correct and realign the foot to put them into neutral or normal position to really prevent heel pain, and many other foot issues.
Whether it be bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, or even ankle instability, a custom orthotic is something worth considering.
Prevention of heel pain involves reducing the stress on that part of the body. Tips include. Barefeet, when on hard ground make sure you are wearing shoes. Bodyweight, if you are overweight there is
more stress on the heels when you walk or run. Try to lose weight. Footwear, footwear that has material which can absorb some of the stress placed on the heel may help protect it. Examples include
heel pads. Make sure your shoes fit properly and do not have worn down heels or soles. If you notice a link between a particular pair of shoes and heel pain, stop wearing them. Rest, if you are
especially susceptible to heel pain, try to spend more time resting and less time on your feet. It is best to discuss this point with a specialized health care professional. Sports, warm up properly
before engaging in activities that may place lots of stress on the heels. Make sure you have proper sports shoes for your task.