Heel pain can be caused by a number of conditions, plantar fasciitis being one of the most common. The best way to confirm what may be causing your heel pain is to see a foot and ankle specialist for an accurate diagnosis. Some other causes of heel pain are stress fractures, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation, or a cyst in rare cases. This makes it vital to get a correct diagnosis of what is causing your heel pain.
What is the Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a long, tough, and thin ligament directly beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot that supports your arch and is sturdy enough to absorb most of the impact thrown your feet’s way on a daily basis. It connects the heel of your foot to the front of your foot at the base of the toes. As tough as it may be, the plantar fascia can be overused and over-stressed, causing small tears to form. That results in inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the foot, specifically along the sole.
Do Heel Spurs Cause Plantar Fasciitis?
No, they do not. Only about 5% of people with heel spurs have foot pain, which means that if you do happen to have both, the plantar fasciitis pain can be treated without removing the spur.
There are a number of risk factors that increase the likelihood of getting plantar fasciitis. For this condition, it almost seems like you can’t win; if you’re obese, you’re more likely to get it, but if you run or jog, you also might get it. It’s a situation in which you should listen to your body’s signals and make sure you don’t over-stress your feet.
Some common risk factors:
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Improperly fitting shoes
- Differing leg lengths
- Tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
- Excessive pronation (your feet roll inward too much as you walk)
- Standing, walking, or running for prolonged periods of time on a hard surface such as pavement
If you do enjoy walking or jogging, the best place to do so is not on pavement or a hard road. If there’s a park or forest in your area, that would be the best place to walk, jog, or run to avoid injuring your plantar fascia.
When to Call a Doctor
If you have heel pain that isn’t severe, you can try icing the area several times a day to see if it gets any better. However, since not all heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, it’s a good idea to see a specialist if you aren’t sure or the pain is severe. If you have redness or warmth in your heel, numbness or tingling, and a fever, call your doctor immediately.
To take the guesswork out of the whole situation and get a reliable diagnosis, please give us a call here at Milwaukee Foot and Ankle! We’re here to help and don’t like to see people in pain, so we’ll do what we can for your feet.
Same day appointments are available at 414-439-2279.