Plantar Fasciitis- Are You Experiencing Shooting Pain Through Your Heel?

By: Gen Wright

Does your heel ever hurt right after you drive or while running, or even walking? Every mile that you walk puts 60 tons of stress on each of your feet. Your feet can handle a heavy load, but too much stress pushes them over their limits. When you pound your feet on hard surfaces playing sports or wear shoes that irritate sensitive tissues, you may develop heel pain, which is the most common problem affecting the foot and ankle.

Over 50 percent of Americans will experience heel pain at some point in their life. However, only 20 percent of people that suffer from heel pain visit their podiatrist, and according to the majority of podiatrists, one-third of their patients suffer from heel pain. It is clear that heel pain is not a problem to be ignored and, although not life threatening, it is something to look out for.

Heel pain will usually get better on its own without surgery if you give it enough rest, but many people will often ignore the early signs of heel pain and continue with their activities, causing further pain.

What is Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)?

Both heel pain and heel spurs are associated with an inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom of your foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. This type of pain is most common among athletes who run and jump a lot, causing a great amount of pain.

Plantar fasciitis 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.

Treat your Heel Pain

In order to properly treat heel pain, you must absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer pressure. Treatment begins at home when heel pain is caught in its early stage:

* Stretching exercises
* Avoid going barefoot
* Limit activities
* Shoe modifications
* Medications

If you are still experiencing pain after several weeks, consult your podiatrist in Scottsdale for further treatment. Continue with preventative measures, even after treatment, to prevent any other developments. Your Scottsdale podiatrist will be able to help you with a proper prevention plan.

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Sean Hartmen writes for premier Scottsdale foot doctor, Dr. David Richer. Offering an array of services, Dr. Richer has been practicing podiatry in Scottsdale since 2001. He provides medical and surgical care of the foot, ankle, and leg. Dr. Richer, providing Scottsdale foot care, has specialty training in treating neuropathy, diabetics, neuropathy, and other foot care.

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