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Heel Pain That Is Worse With First Steps In Morning

Heel Pain That Is Worse With First Steps In Morning

When ever a patient comes into the office complaining of heel pain my first question is, “Is the pain worse with the first few steps in the morning and when you first get up and walk after sitting a while?” These are the classic symptoms for a condition known as plantar fasciitis (”itis” refers to inflammation, appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, fasciitis is inflammation of the fascia).

The plantar fascia is a fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel to the base of all five toes. The plantar fascia acts like a spring and is responsible for maintaining your arch. As you take a step, the plantar fascia permits the arch to pronate and flatten out a bit to allow the foot to adapt to what ever terrain it happens to be walking. At the end of the step the plantar fascia helps the foot to supinate and become rigid again so that a forceful push-off can be achieved.

The plantar fasca becomes inflamed if the foot pronates or rolls over too much and stretches out the plantar fasca too much. This causes inflammation where the plantar fascia is attached to the heel. The plantar fasca actually pulls away from the bone and this is what causes the pain. One way that the body protects itself against this pulling away from the bone is to build up more bone in that area. The resulting build-up of bone is called a bone spur. A bone spur in-and-of-itself sounds painful but usually it is not what is causing the pain. The pain is caused by the tearing away of the fascia from the bone.

The body is a rapid healer. When you go to bed or even if you just sit down for a while the bone starts to heal in this area. However when you get up and start walking again …ouch! You just tore away the newly repaired bone.

Most heel pain is caused by a biomechanical problem and can be corrected with an arch support. However the correct arch support requires the correct diagnosis. The plantar fasciitis can be caused by an arch that is either too flat, an arch that is too high or a tight Achilles tendon. The over the counter cushioning devices are helpful to reduce the pain and may help calm things down a bit and allow the healing to start but in order to prevent it from returning you have to correct the problem and this requires the correct diagnosis. Custom arch supports will match the contour of your foot that will limit the pronation, reduce foot pain and allow the heel to heal.

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