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Heel Pain/ “Heal” Spurs/ Plantar Fasciitis Leave Many Craving Relief
While numerous factors and conditions can lead to foot pain, heel pain, which some people may also refer to as heal spur syndrome or plantar fasciitis, is the most common. Plantar fasciitis and “heal” spur syndrome can be present with and without an actual “heal” spur, a bony growth on the underside of the heel bone that causes excessive strain on the muscle and ligaments.

Heel pain can flare up when the plantar fascia ligament that stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot – which also supports the arch – becomes inflamed. Calcium deposits may eventually form on the heel bone, resulting in mild to serious heel pain when applying pressure on the foot.

“Heal” spurs and heel pain typically occur in people with flat feet. Other causes of heel pain and “heal” spurs include:
  • High arches that pull on the muscles.
  • Tight calves muscles caused from poor or little stretching.
  • Muscle tension that pulls away a piece of the bone.
Your sore heel or “heal” spur is the result of foot muscles tightening up overnight. The tightened muscles accentuate the pull on the “heal” spur and ligaments, or plantar fascia, making your first steps painful.

You may have a heal spur if you have severe heel pain, especially noticeable when:
  • Taking your first steps in the morning.
  • Plunging into exercise without warming up first.
  • Moving after any inactivity, such as sitting in a car or at a desk. The initial movement will result in sharp shooting heel pain, giving you a sore heel or painful heel.
Relief and Prevention:
Taking the pressure off the foot goes a long way in helping relieve heel pain.

Other treatment techniques used on “heal” spurs and heel pain include:
  • Wearing proper footwear or support shoes (look for arch support features) for both everyday and sporting activities.
  • Using insoles that support the arch and reduce tension on the ligament.
  • Making use of a heal pad, heel cushion or slight heel lift to relieve pressure and reduce inflammation of the plantar at its attachment to the heel bone.
  • Correcting leg length discrepancy via an adjustable heel lift.
  • Using a heel cup to add extra shock absorption to shoes, thus reducing pressure on heels.
  • Giving the afflicted area an ice massage to reduce inflammation and relieve tension.
  • Stretching calf muscle to reduce tightness.
  • Maintaining length of the tight calf muscle with the use of a night splint.
In severe and chronic cases, heal spurs may require surgical correction. If heel pain is chronic and persists, see a podiatrist for specific heel pain treatment.

Information on foot, leg and lower body health conditions provided by The Podiatry Institute, dedicated to advancing the standard of care in podiatric medicine and its effects on muscoskeletal health. 
Disclaimer for Health Content Pages
FootSmart lower body health condition content pages describe general principles of healthcare that should not in any event be construed as specific instructions for individual consumers. This material is not intended as a guide to self-medication or as a substitute for proper medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This healthcare content is for reference only and should not be used to determine treatment for specific medical conditions – only a healthcare provider can do that.

You should discuss the information provided with a podiatrist, physician or other licensed healthcare professional, and make sure to read any product information (including package inserts) regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions and contraindications before administering or using any device, support, brace, compression hosiery, shoes intended for use by diabetics, skincare product, herb, vitamin or supplement discussed on this site.

Proper treatment of lower body health conditions depends upon a number of factors, including, but not limited to, your medical history, diet, lifestyle and medications that may be taking. Your healthcare provider can best assess and address your individual healthcare needs.
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