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Heel Pain

Plantar Fasciitis ( Heel Pain )

One of the most common of the foot ailments is heel pain and the cause is usually inflammation of the plantar fascia or plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia, is a band of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles on the bottom of the foot . It connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot, supporting the arch, protecting the foot and absorbing shock.

Patients with plantar fasciitis often complain of pain in the morning after first standing when they get out of bed and when the stand after they sat for a while. The pain originates just in front of the heel bone, but can spread over the entire bottom of the foot.

Over time, inflammation associated with the condition can lead to the development of scar tissue, calcium deposits and eventually heel spurs. These spurs are a bony growth on the front part of the calcaneus of heel bone where the plantar fascia attaches and can sharp stabbing pain with walking.

There are many factors that contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis though people who have other foot conditions, especially pes planus (flat feet) and over-pronation are most susceptible. One of the most important factor is muscle imbalances between the calf muscles and the muscles on the bottom of the foot which both attach to the calcaneus or heel bone. Often the calf muscles get short and tight exerting a strong pull upon the back of the calcaneus. This causes undo stress upon the smaller and weaker plantar muscles and its fascia that attach to the other side of the calcaneus. Wearing high heels will cause a shorting and tightening of the calf muscles as well as running and jumping activities. Other factors that stress the plantar fascia include: sudden strenuous activity after a period of long-term inactivity, abnormal walking patterns, improper footwear, walking on hard or uneven surfaces especially barefooted, and obesity.

People who are constantly on their feet, such as nurses, teachers and waiters, are more susceptible, as are athletes who participate in foot-stressing activities such as aerobics, volleyball, running, basketball and tennis.

Once one develops plantar fasciitis, it is often difficult to manage and can become very painful and persistent. A chiropractor will be able to determine the cause of your problem and what treatments are best suited. These might include ultrasound therapy, laser, joint manipulation, muscles stretching and strengthening exercises, special taping and in some cases orthotics.