If you suffer from heel pain or foot pain you know just how debilitating and frustrating these conditions can be. It is painful to walk, painful to stretch your foot and sometimes even painful when you are completely relaxed.

Getting rid of heel pain is a top priority once you develop this condition. By understanding the three leading causes of heel and foot pain you can help to reduce the symptoms while also seeking advice and treatment from a podiatrist.

Heel Spurs = Heel Pain Heel spurs, sometimes known as bone spurs, are actually a protrusion caused by a calcium build-up on the bottom of the heel bone or calcaneus. This build-up occurs most commonly when the heel, or the plantar fascia, is constantly injured with activity.

Typical symptoms of heel spurs are very similar to that of plantar fasciitis and may include stabling pains in the heel in the first few steps and a chronic ache in the bottom of the heel. Contributing factors to the pain can include obesity, foot misalignment, gait irregularities, running, jumping, jogging and shoes that are not providing enough support and protection.

Plantar Fasciitis = Foot/Arch Pain Often when people have both arch pain and heel pain they have a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the band of tissue that connects the bottom of the heel to your toes. When this band of tissue becomes inflamed and injured any movement of the foot, especially the rolling from heel to toe when walking, creates a stabbing pain that gradually goes away as the tissue stretches with walking or exercise.

Pain Relief Suggestions There are several things that you can do to immediately relieve heel pain or heel and arch pain. These include:

• Use over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to reduce the discomfort • Stretch the feet before trying to walk by using a towel to gently pull the toes up towards the chest when the legs are straight in front of you in a seated position • Freeze a plastic water bottle and roll it under the foot applying gentle pressure from a seated position • Change to low impact activities and pay attention to which activities cause pain and discomfort • Buy top quality athletic, work and casual shoes and talk to your podiatrist about the use of custom orthotics

Last but not least be sure to talk to Dr. Leff about your heel pain. He will be able to diagnose heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and the cause of your heel and arch pain and develop a treatment plan to address the needs of your feet. Don’t suffer with pain longer than you have to!