HEEL SPURS I have never had a heel spur, fortunately, but have had friends that have had them. It is often hard to discern if this might be causing the pain, because again the pain will be centered around where the plantar fascia tissue band is connecting to the heel bone. This is the same place you will most likely experience plantar fasciitis pain. Yet the cause is very different. Instead of an inflammation of the tissue, a heel spur is a calcium deposit that forms right where this connection is made. Often going to a doctor and having them take an x-ray is the best way to see if this is truly the cause, as they will probably find a bony protrusion right at the front of the heel bone. OTHER CAUSES OF HEEL PAIN GOUT My wife was diagnosed at one time with gout, and was told that her uric acid in her blood has risen to excessive levels causing urate crystals to build up around her joints in her toe (some experience this around the heels). This was even more painful that when she had plantar fasciitis, as even letting a sheet touch her feet while she slept would keep her awake. Luckily gout attacks can go away in time, and doctors can help provide comfort. Diet might play a big role in helping keep this at bay. RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS This is an auto-immune disease that causes inflammation and pain around various joints in the body. You might at times feel this in the joints in the fingers, or it might show up in places in the foot. This is considered a chronic disease and is best to see a doctor specializing in this disease as treatment will probably need to be ongoing. CHRONIC INFLAMMATION OF THE HEEL PAD As we age, it is natural that our heel pads can become thinner. This pain might be felt throughout the entire bottom of the heel, as the thinning heel pad is not absorbing the shock like it use to. Heavy stepping can also lead to this thinning. ACHILLES TENDONITIS I had mentioned earlier that sometimes the heel pain may be located behind the heel. Achilles tendonitis is a common inflammation that can occur with running or when wearing the wrong type of shoes. You experience this pain in a slightly different place than plantar fasciitis, as this will be felt where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone in back. Often this pain comes on gradually and builds as more inflammation is occurring. It might even become uncomfortable to wear shoes as they might feel like they are rubbing or cutting into the back of your heel. This might flare up when, say starting up an exercise that puts stress on your Achilles tendon. HOME TREATMENTS OF HEEL PAIN -Rest -Gives inflamed tissue time to recover -Stretching -Helps keep muscles protected, and can bring immediate relief -Icing -Reduces inflammation -Ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory medicine -Reduces swelling -Proper footwear -Cushioned heels and great arch support go a long way in helping you recover as well as prevent future symptoms -Plantar Fasciitis Socks -Compression therapy that can help increase blood flow and speed recovery -Compression Socks -Compression therapy that can help increase blood flow and speed recovery We all may experience heel pain at times, and knowing what it is we are experiencing will help us know better, how to treat our symptoms and bring lasting healing. Relief can be had! You don't have to live with heel or foot pain. Please seek a doctor is pain persist for more than a couple of weeks. As always, stay healthy so you can stay fit. Cheers, Drew
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