Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Spurs)

Question: What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Answer: Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fascia (also called aponeurosis) on the bottom of the foot. It is often considered the same as a heel spur.

Question: What causes Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs?
Answer: Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs and conditions caused by such factors as:

  • excessive standing
  • un-padded shoes on hard ground
  • poor shoes
  • repetitive stress
  • diets low in vitamin C
  • a change or increase in activities
  • being overweight
  • age related shrinkage of the heel fat pad (a.k.a fat-pad atrophy)
  • injury

Bad shoes are those which contain any of the following:

  • have poor or no arch support
  • do not have a raised heel
  • are worn out
  • have a dual sole with gel or air in them
  • do not bend at the ball of the foot
  • do not have any cushion and are worn on a hard surface

Question: What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs?
Answer: The pain is usually in the front and bottom of the heel. It can also span the entire bottom area of the foot. The pain can be mild or debilitating. It can last a few months or a lifetime. It can go away by itself then return in a few weeks or months. If you have heel pain at the inside and front bottom of your heel, especially if it’s in the morning or after sitting for a long time, then you probably have plantar fasciitis. When the pain is severe, it is believed to be the result of bone and/or nerve irritation caused by too much tension, inflammation or scar tissue in the fascia. The pain is usually where the fascia attaches to the heel, but again, it may span the entire bottom area of the foot. If the heel pain began concurrently with a change or increase in activity or an increase in weight, and then it can be considered more of a cause of plantar fasciitis. Fifty percent of the sufferers say the pain is constant. About 90 percent say it hurts when pressed deeply with a finger.

Question: What is the Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs?

Answer: The most successful treatments include gentle stretching of the calf muscles, decreasing or changing activities, losing weight, better-fitting shoes (with an arch support and raised heel), shoe inserts that have good arch support, or heel pads, applying ice for five minutes after activities, and
taking anti-inflammatory medication. When constant foot pain is present, it is caused by
inflammation (which may not be visible to the eye). The effects of the inflammatory process may be reduced by keeping the foot raised above the heart and/or compressed by wrapping the foot with an ace bandages after long periods of being on your feet. Trying to “walk through or ignore the pain” can cause a mild case to become long-term and debilitating.

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