Spur Yourself on to Treat Your Heel Pain
Chicago is one of the best cities in the country for professional sports. From the Cubs and White Sox to the Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears—there’s a team for every fan. High intensity sports can result in injuries, and heel pain can sideline the most experienced athletes. Described as “needles underneath your feet” –the problem is often the result of plantar fasciitis. However, you don’t need to be an athlete to suffer this discomfort. Many people experience plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and the pain that goes with them.
What are Heel Spurs?
When the plantar fascia – the band of tissue under your foot that connects the heel to the forefoot – is stressed, it can tighten and pull on the heel bone where it is attached. The constant tension can cause the bone to build extra layers, forming a spur. The plantar fascia can also become inflamed. The same thing can happen behind the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. You might even feel the bump with your fingers, and the area may be painful.
Why Do They Form?
People who walk and run a lot tend to have tight tendons. If they are not stretched out properly, they can pull against the bone during movement, causing spurs to form. They can also be damaged when stress is placed on them, because they don’t “give,” but end up stretching too far or tearing. Damaged tendons can’t support the arch, which begins to fall, placing even more stress on the tissue.
What Causes the Pain?
Common understanding has been that the heel spur caused the pain, and many times it was surgically removed as a way to treat the discomfort. In some cases, however, people can have a heel spur but not experience any pain. They might not even have known they had a heel spur until an X-ray for some other problem revealed it. Lately, more podiatrists are citing the inflammation of the tendon or tissue around the heel as the cause of pain, rather than the spur itself. This changes the focus on treatment options for dealing with pain in the heel.
Treatment of Heel Spurs
At My Chicago Foot Expert, we will try more conservative methods to treat heel pain. We recommend to start with applying an ice pack to the area for a few minutes, several times a day. We may recommend that you check your shoes and advise you on the type that will help your feet the most. We may also prescribe custom orthotics to give proper arch support and cushioning to the bottom of the foot, and redistribute the weight away from the tender areas and more evenly over your feet. Physical therapy may also be used to strengthen the muscles and stretch out the tendons, making your feet stronger and more flexible and lessening the stress on them. Medications can also be prescribed if the pain is severe. Surgery is usually used as a last resort, if all other methods fail to bring relief.
How to Get Help
Dr. Stavros Alexopoulos is only a phone call away at our office on West Foster Street in Chicago. We can help you deal with heel pain and get you back on track to participate in your favorite sport – or just the daily activities of your life – without pain. Call (773) 561-8100 today, or book an appointment online. We hope to help you soon!