What Does Heel Pain Have to Do with Plantar Fasciitis?

Heel pain is one of the most common complaints relating to the foot. Millions of people suffer from heel pain and seek out treatment each year. In fact, many people live with it for a year or more before finding a solution.

So what actually causes heel pain?

The muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in your body act as links in an interconnective chain. These links work together to allow you to accomplish basic motions like sitting, walking and running.

Factors that may increase your risk of developing heel pain from plantar fasciitis include:

  • Non-supportive shoes- footwear should be flat, lace-up and with good arch support and cushioning. High heels can cause plantar fasciitis symptoms.
  • Tight Leg and Foot Muscles
  • Age
  • Occupation that requires hours spent on feet
  • Excessive Weight
  • Pregnancy
  • Exercise such as running, dancing or jumping
  • Foot Arch Problems (either flat feet or high arches)

If any one of these elements is injured or not functioning properly, the entire chain of elements suffers.

For millions of people each year, the first breakdown that they realize in their lower leg “chain”, manifests itself as heel pain. When this happens, trauma often occurs in the plantar fascia (arch) and the pain is felt in the base of the heel.

This heel pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis Heel PainWhat Exactly is Plantar Fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia is a thick, broad band of tissue which runs across the bottom of your foot connecting your heel bone to your toes and creates the arch of the foot. Normally, your plantar fascia acts as a shock-absorber, supporting the arch in your foot. But, if tension becomes too great, the plantar fascia can become overstretched or overused. This can create small tears in the fascia which causes the fascia to become irritated or inflamed. This condition results in plantar fasciitis.

Heel Spur?

Plantar fasciitis is sometimes called a heel spur although they are not strictly the same. Patients and doctors sometimes confuse the terms heel spur and plantar fasciitis. While these two diagnoses are related, they are actually different. A heel spur is a bony growth that occurs at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone. A heel spur can be present (as a result of repetitive pulling of the plantar fascia) on a foot with no symptoms at all, and a painful heel does not always have a heel spur growth. Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia–the tissue that forms the arch of the foot.

Don’t Ignore!

Ignoring plantar fasciitis may result in a chronic condition that hinders your regular activities. Most importantly, any weak link in the inter-connective chain of your lower leg can change the way you walk. This change can potentially lead to additional foot, knee, hip or back problems.

It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 people will suffer from plantar fasciitis in their lifetime and plantar fasciitis is the most commonly diagnosed cause of heel pain.

Suffering from heel pain?

How do you know if its Plantar Fasciitis pain?