Heel pain affects nearly 2 million Americans each year and can be responsible for mild discomfort or even debilitating pain.
The most common type of heel and foot pain among long distance runners and athletes is plantar fasciitis. This condition is characterized by painful inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament which runs along the bottom of the foot.
A sponsored article by Silver Cross Hospital.
The plantar fascia ligament is made of fibrous bands of tissue and runs between the heel bone and toes stretching with every step. Inflammation develops when tears occur in the tissue. The most common complaint from plantar fasciitis is a burning, stabbing, or aching pain in the heel of the foot.
“Most sufferers will be able to feel it in the morning because the fascia ligament tightens up during the night while we sleep, causing pain to diminish,” says Dr. Paul Kirchner, podiatrist on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “However, when we climb out of bed and place pressure on the ligament, it becomes taut and pain is particularly severe.”
Pain usually decreases as the tissue warms up, but may easily return again after a strenuous training session and after long periods of inactivity, such as sitting down to watch television.
Among the most popular factors that contribute to plantar fasciitis is wearing incorrect shoes. In many cases, shoes either do not fit properly, or provide inadequate support or cushioning. While running or exercising in improper shoes, weight distribution becomes impaired, and significantly stress can be added to the plantar fascia ligament.
“In most cases, plantar fasciitis does not require surgery or invasive procedures to stop pain and reverse damage,” Kirchner said. “Conservative treatments including medications such as NSAIDs and corticosteriods or special splints are usually all that is required. However, every person's body responds to plantar fasciitis treatment differently and recovery times may vary.”
Free Program and Screening
To learn more about the latest treatment options for plantar fasciitis, join Dr. Paul Kirchner, podiatrist, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Register to attend this free program—Feet First: Running & The Injured Athlete online or by calling 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).
In addition, The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross will offer free Heel and Foot Screenings Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the Silver Cross Professional Building at 250 Maple St. (Route 3) in New Lenox. Participants will receive a home exercise program and tips for preventing plantar fasciitis. Call 815-463-6123 for an appointment.