As the weather warms up and races start approaching, people are starting to run outside again. Unfortunately, some people are finding that they can’t run as far as they used to because of pain. Two of the most common conditions, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs are usually at the root of the problem.
Defining the Conditions
Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are a classic combination in runners. The anatomy of the foot includes the plantar fascia, which is the tissue connection your toes to the heel and looks like a band. When the plantar fascia is overused, it becomes inflamed and pulls on the heel bone. This is referred to as plantar fasciitis. The most frustrating thing for runners is that it doesn’t hurt around the clock, so they keep thinking they must feel better. The reason is that this band only hurts when it is stretched out. All the time you spend sitting or laying down (relaxing, naps, or sleeping at night) helps relax the band of tissues, reducing the strain and resulting in no pain. Once you get up and start walking again, it stretches the tissues and causes a lot of pain.
When the plantar fasciitis is pulled and stressed for a long period of time, it causes heel spurs to develop. As the tissues pull at and irritate the heel bone, calcium deposits build up to fortify against the strain. The pressure tells your body to build up the bone by making it bigger to protect against breaking. Rather than making the whole bone thicker, a pointed, hook-like growth happens and that is referred to as a heel spur. Since the plantar fasciitis is the root problem of the heel spur, these two problems are common to see together.
While this problem feels and sounds serious, the good news is that it is treatable. Since the plantar fasciitis is at the root of both problems, that is what doctors treat. Your body will resolve the heel spurs once there is no longer a need to develop and protect the bone. The treatment for plantar fasciitis is easy and simple too. The best prescription is icing the tissues, learning proper stretches, pain and swelling medication, injections, and custom orthotics. Most importantly, you must rest your foot, which means no running for a while. In some more severe cases, surgery is used to help relieve your plantar fascia from so much strain by releasing it a little. Sometimes heel spurs are removed through surgery too, but these are rare cases. In the end, this treatment will get you back into your race training, as good as new.
If you think you might be suffering from plantar fasciitis or heel spurs, we would love to see you. We can do a consultation and help figure out what the problem is, so you can get back on your feet again. Don’t let foot pain hold you back. Give us a call to make an appointment today.