Heel pain has a way of hijacking your life, making every step a teeth-gritting affair that hampers your mobility. Since immobility is hardly an option, your goal is to find relief for your heel pain, which can only be found once you identify the underlying problem.
At Wiregrass Podiatry, under the expert direction of Dr. Jennifer Decker, we specialize in the myriad conditions that can strike your feet and ankles, including heel pain. And one of the more common culprits when it comes to heel pain is plantar fasciitis.
Here’s a look at what this condition is and the top three signs that plantar fasciitis could be the driving force behind your heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis 101
Your plantar fascia is a ligament that stretches from your heel to the front of your foot. This connective tissue is critical for providing support to the arches in your feet.
With plantar fasciitis, this tissue becomes inflamed, which is what causes the heel pain. Plantar fasciitis typically develops because of overuse of your plantar fascia, which causes tiny tears to form in the tissue. By overuse, we mean people who are daily runners or perhaps those who spend long hours on their feet each day. As well, taking up a new activity may lead to the condition since your plantar fascia isn’t used to the new workload.
Outside of activity, plantar fasciitis can develop if your calf muscles are too tight or you’re carrying extra weight. High arches can also lead to plantar fasciitis.
Now that we have a clearer picture of what plantar fasciitis is, let’s take a look at the three most common indicators of this particular condition.
The top signs of plantar fasciitis
If you’re dealing with heel pain, the way the pain presents itself is key to determining the cause, which brings us to the first sign:
1. Stabbing pain in your heels and feet when you get out of bed
If you’re met with searing pain in your heels and feet when you first get out of bed in the morning, this symptom is the hallmark of plantar fasciitis. As you sleep, your plantar fascia tightens because it isn’t in use. So, when you wake up and take your first steps, the tissue stretches out suddenly, and if there are tears along the tissue, it can lead to burning pain. (You can also experience this if you’ve been seated for a long period and first get up.)
In most cases, this pain subsides quickly as you continue to move around and your plantar fascia stretches out properly.
2. Increased pain after activity
As we reviewed above, plantar fasciitis often develops due to overuse, so it follows that when you place added stress on this ligament, you may feel some discomfort. Typically, this pain isn’t the stabbing pain you feel in the morning, but a duller ache, especially after your activity.
3. The formation of heel spurs
Although this sign is tougher to spot, heel spurs are a common complication of plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs are extra growths of bone, which is your body’s way of trying to add more strength to your weakened heel and foot. Unfortunately, these spurs, depending upon their location, can simply add to the discomfort of plantar fasciitis.
A positive ID
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to come see us. After reviewing your symptoms and using advanced diagnostic imaging, if necessary, we can positively diagnose your problem and get you started on an appropriate treatment plan that will bring you much-needed relief.
If you suspect you may have plantar fasciitis, simply contact our office in Enterprise, Alabama, to set up an appointment.