Dr. Sheryl Smith
The most common cause of heel pain is Plantar Fasciitis, also known as heel spur. The plantar fascia (PF) is a strong ligament that runs from the heel to the metatarsal heads in the front of your foot.
This ligament helps absorb the shock that occurs when your foot contacts the ground. Runners, tennis players, dancers, and athletes of all types are subject to this painful condition.
The good news is that only about 5 out of every 100 people end up needing surgery, while overwhelming majorities of people are able to cure the condition using simple home remedies or a physical therapy routine.
The exact cause of Plantar Fasciitis is usually easy to identify when the subject is an athlete, but the truth is that PF can occur in anyone. Even poor or variable footwear selections can lead to painful ligament strain. Common structural causes include:
• Weak foot muscles
• Misaligned and weak first toe
• Tight or short calf muscles
• Poor walking or running mechanics
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the flat ligament on the bottom of the foot that runs between the heel and the footpad is stretched in an awkward position. If the plantar fascia is strained, small tears may develop in the ligament. As a result, the ligament becomes inflamed, making it painful to put pressure on the affected foot. Generally, plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that can either be minor or can actually affect your ability to walk.
Diagnosis is largely clinical, based on muscle tightness, foot alignment, and area of tenderness. X-rays are used to determine if a bony spur is present.
Many people who suffer from Plantar Fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed in the morning, or after they have sat for a long period of time. The pain can develop gradually or have rapid onset. It can affect one foot or both feet at the same time. You may also notice:
• Pain in the bottom of the foot
• Foot or heal pain with prolonged standing or walking
• A limp that causes you to feel off balance
• Redness, swelling and warm or “hot” spots
There are a variety of treatment options for this foot ailment, and it is one of the most commonly treated. Depending on the severity, the condition can last for a few weeks of annoying pain, or several months. Stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory medication and injections may be in order to alleviate pain. Most treatment options will include a custom orthotic device that can be worn in your shoe to strengthen the affected ligaments. Sometimes a short-term course of physical therapy can be helpful in alleviating the painful symptoms more quickly.
In the best case of early detection, we can recommend a series of stretching exercises than the patient can perform on their own daily to abate the problem.
9800 Broadway Extension,
Oklahoma City, OK 73114
OKFootMD Dr. Sheryl Smith