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Posted on March 28th, 2012
Suffering from heel pain is bad enough but not knowing what’s causing it or how to make it stop just makes it worse! Terms like heel spurs and Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) get used interchangeably but how do you determine what’s causing your heel pain?
While nothing replaces a diagnosis from a physician, a few simple questions can help you narrow down your plan of action.
Do you have…
Any one or even all of these symptoms could indicate plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs don’t always cause pain. In fact, heel spurs often show up unexpectedly on X-rays taken for some other problem.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the forefoot. This band connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia which happens when the plantar fascia is overstretched or overused.
With this condition, the pain is felt in the base of the heel and can make even everyday walking difficult. According to the Mayo Clinic, “about 90 percent of the people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatments in just a few months. “
The two most important steps you can take to treat plantar fasciitis is to use a quality heel cup in your shoes and to perform targeted stretching exercises designed to maintain good flexibility throughout the interconnective chain of the lower leg. In addition to these treatments, it is recommended that you reduce your activity level when experiencing severe pain and apply ice to the affected area regularly.
What is a Heel Spur?
A heel spur is a sharp bony growth at the front side of the heel bone (Calcaneus). It usually begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot — without your realizing it.
Heel spurs can cause pain in the back of the foot especially while standing or walking. However, it should be noted that the heel spur itself is actually not causing any pain. It is the inflamed tissue around the spur that causes pain and discomfort.
Many people who suffer from heel pain are quick to conclude that they have heel spurs but general heel pain as described earlier is much more likely to be Plantar fasciitis. Only an x-ray of the heel bone will prove whether a person has a true heel spur.
In the past, doctors often performed surgery to remove heel spurs, believing them to be the cause of the pain. Most of that pain is now determined to be associated with plantar fasciitis. In treating plantar fasciitis now, doctors rely more on ice, heel cups, arch supports, physical therapy, and pain medications.
Sufferers from heel spurs can find relief by using a quality heel cup or arch support in their shoes. A heel cup will provide extra cushion to the heel and reduce the amount of pressure and shock that your foot experiences. Treating heel spurs can take some time but sufferers who use heel cups, choose sensible shoes, and include stretching and strengthening exercises for the plantar fascia and other surrounding structures such as the Achilles tendon can expect significant pain relief.
Posted on September 6th, 2011
After reading an interesting article by Gina Kolata, “As Sports Medicine Surges, Hope and Hype Outpace Proven Treatments”, we thought it was important to release this information on proven solutions for heel pain.
Study Shows Heel Cups and Stretching Combined Provide The Most Effective Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis Relief
A two-year study done by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) found that the combination of off-the-shelf shoe inserts and targeted stretching exercises provides the most significant relief from heel pain.
During the two-year study which involved 15 orthopaedic foot and ankle centers across the United States, researchers looked at the effectiveness of stretching exercises and orthotic devices such as Tuli’s Heel Cups in the treatment of heel pain to determine the level of effectiveness.
Results showed that 88% of those who used the Tuli’s Heel Cups and did tendon and plantar fascia stretching exercises improved.
“The study proves what our customers have been telling us for years,” says Craig DiGiovanni of Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products. “While our Tuli’s Heel Cups are proven to provide immediate pain relief it is clear that sufferers using the ProStretch Plus in combination with Tuli’s not only experienced immediate pain relief but more importantly, they were able to cure their heel pain over time. The ProStretch Plus made it simple by providing them with exercises that they could easily do at home without the expense of a doctor or physical therapist. ProStretch Plus and Tuli’s Heel Cups combined delivers the one-two punch that knocks the pain out for good.”
Heel pain affects over two million Americans annually and is the most common foot problem seen in medical practice. Most heel pain is a result of plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the flat band of ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. Its job is to provide arch support and shock absorption. In a normal step, the plantar fascia ligament stretches as the foot hits the ground but abnormal steps or repetitive pressure on the heel can cause the ligament to stretch irregularly leading to serious pain. The pain can be dull, aching or sharp. The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are typically resolved more quickly when treatment is started at the first sign of pain.
Untreated plantar fasciitis may become a chronic condition, significantly impacting a person’s level of activity or even creating a greater “domino effect”. Heel pain can quickly become knee, hip or back problems due to the changes in the way that you walk to avoid your heel pain.
“The study clearly demonstrates that a stretching program plus an off-the-shelf insert is the best and most cost-effective treatment for the first onset of heel pain,” said Glenn Pfeffer, M.D., San Francisco, Chairman of the AOFAS Heel Pain Study Group. “These findings will allow patients and the health care system to save hundreds of millions of dollars each year…”
Order your proven heel pain solution here today: www.medi-dyne.com/estore