Have you had pain in the sole or the heel of your foot and wondered what is the source of this pain? Foot pain can be caused due to a heel spur or from plantar fasciitis. Though they may present in isolation to each other these two conditions usually co-exist.
Plantar fascia is one of the thickest fascia in our body. It runs from the heel to the five toes, covering the whole length of the sole of the foot. When inflamed it can cause dull or sharp pain along the sole of the foot, in the heel or most commonly, in the inner arch of the foot.
On the other hand a heel spur is a bony growth beneath the heel bone. It can be usually seen as a hook or thorn shaped protrusion from the heel on an x-ray.
Heel spurs originates from repetitive stresses on the heel. Heel spur can also occur due to a constant pull from a tight plantar fascia, as the heel is the attachment point for the fascia.
Both heel spur and plantar fasciitis are commonly seen in people such as athletes that constantly load their heel and foot.
Some of the common symptoms of heel spur and plantar fasciitis are:
- Sharp pain in the heel when waking up in the morning, when feet are placed on the floor.
- Standing up after prolonged sitting, anytime of the day.
- If severe, pain can be constantly present throughout the day, even at rest.
- Walking bare feet can increase the pain.
- Rest can only provide temporary relief. Weight bearing on the foot brings back the pain in the heel and/or the sole of the foot.
Factors that can predispose to both heel spur and plantar fasciitis are:
- Being overweight or sudden weight gain
- Prolonged standing or walking
- Increased activity over a very short period of time
- Overuse injury due to athletics, dancing or aerobics
- Abnormal loading on the foot due to either flat feet or a high foot arch
- Wrong or improperly fitting footwear
Both these conditions can settle quickly if treatment is started early. However if the initial symptoms are ignored and the conditions become chronic it will take longer for them to resolve and settle down. Read part 2 of the blog for some easy tips to overcome pain from heel spur and plantar fasciitis.
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