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The Causes of Heel Pain

The Causes of Heel Pain - El Paso Chiropractor
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The plantar fascia is a broad cord of tissue, found connecting the heel bone to the toes across the bottom of the foot, which normally function as a shock-absorber to support the arch of the foot. For many individuals, when an excess amount of tension begins to build up on the plantar fascia, small tears can begin to develop on the tissue. With constant stretching and tearing, the fascia can become irritated and inflamed, causing pain and discomfort on the affected foot, a condition best known as plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain in many individuals.  Although most commonly diagnosed in runners, individuals who are overweight, women who are pregnant, and those who wear shoes with inadequate support, are at an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis. The condition is characterized by a sharp pain that generally occurs during the first steps an individual takes first thing in the morning. After the foot warms up, the pain of the condition may decrease, but it may return after extended periods of time standing or after getting up from a seated position.

The pain and symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis can develop gradually, most frequently affecting a single foot although it can occur in both feet simultaneously.

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a variety of reasons but certain factors can increase the risk of developing the condition. As we age, for example, the body undergoes a natural process of degeneration where the structures of tissue may begin to wear and tear. Through this process, many muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even bones, can become weaker, especially those of repetitive use. Overuse with age frequently irritates the plantar fascia, resulting in the well-known symptoms of heel pain and discomfort. Plantar fasciitis is most common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60. Because women who are pregnant can often experience plantar fascia complications due to their added weight, plantar fasciitis is statistically more likely to occur in women than men. Additionally, being flat-footed, having a high arch, or even having an abnormal pattern of walking or running can negatively affect the weight distribution within the body while standing, adding stress on the plantar fascia. Occupations that require longer periods of time walking or standing while on hard surfaces can also aggravate the plantar fascia and result in plantar fasciitis. And last but not least, improper footwear, such as thin soled, loose, or those lacking in proper support to protect the feet, can commonly cause plantar fasciitis. Also, wearing high-heeled shoes often can cause damage or injury to the Achilles tendon which attaches to the heel, causing the tissue to contract and shorten, resulting in strain on the Achilles tendon around the heel.
 
For individuals with plantar fasciitis symptoms, conservative treatment such as chiropractic care, stretching, shoe inserts or orthotics, night splints, and taping, can offer positive effects towards treating the condition. Through the use of chiropractic adjustments, soft-tissue manipulation, and exercises, many individuals can experience relief of their plantar fasciitis symptoms with chiropractic treatment.  

By Dr. Alex Jimenez


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