What Is Heel Pain Plantar Fasciitis And Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Pain to the heel can be due to many different conditions and is the most common area of the foot to have pain. Thorough assessment and sometimes imaging is used to make sure we know the exact cause of your pain so to ensure we treat it effectively.Conditions such as plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciopathy are due to injury of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia starts at the bottom of the heel and finishes at your toes. It can become torn, fatigued or inflamed from sudden injuries or more commonly due to overuse.Heel spurs are very common and although not usually the cause of heel pain, they can be seen on x-rays at the bottom of the heel.Often we find bumps or growths on the plantar fascia which are called plantar fibromas. These can be very painful and are managed with appropriate treatment.Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome but is due to compression of a nerve as it passes the ankle. This can be caused by inflammation, cysts, tendon problems and other conditions that affect the feet.Achilles tendon conditions and Haglunds deformity happen at the back of the heel. Find more information on Achilles tendon conditions and Haglunds deformity now.
Can Bone Spurs Be Treated
These days, treating bone spurs with surgery is rare. Instead, podiatrists rely on conservative treatment options. These may include:
- Cold compresses and ice packs after performing weight-bearing activities
- Orthotic inserts that offer arch support
- Cortisone injections to help ease inflammation, stiffness, and pain
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Physical therapy that includes stretching exercises, particularly before bed
- Resting the foot, particularly after performing weight-bearing activities
- A walking boot to help relieve pressure on the affected foot
If you experience severe pain and/or mobility limitations, you may be a candidate for surgery to remove the bone spur. However, your podiatrist should attempt conservative treatment options first.
Whats The Treatment For Heel Spurs
Healthcare providers treat heel spurs the same way they treat plantar fasciitis. Thats because heel pain blamed on heel spurs is actually caused by plantar fasciitis. Treating the symptoms of plantar fasciitis can ease pain associated with heel spurs. Typical treatment includes:
- Resting your heel. If you run or jog, taking a break will help your heel pain.
- Using cold packs or ice. Icing the bottom of your foot can help ease heel pain.
- Taking oral anti-inflammatory medicine.
- Wearing footwear or shoe inserts that support your arches and protect your plantar fascia by cushioning the bottom of your foot.
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Should I Avoid Activity
Even with bone spurs, try to stay active and healthy. Avoid activities and movements that hurt. Choose low-impact activities, like walking instead of running.
When you exercise, take steps to minimize joint damage: Make sure you have good footwear, concentrate on proper techniques, and always warm up and stretch.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Bone spurs may cause no symptoms at all or may drastically affect your day-to-day life. Home remedies and lifestyle choices can help you delay or ease symptoms. If you cant control your pain or other symptoms on your own, ask your healthcare provider about additional strategies.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/16/2020.
When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have joint pain or stiffness, or if you have other symptoms in an area of your body, such as numbness or nerve pain. They’ll investigate the underlying cause.
A GP will ask you about your symptoms and may examine the affected area. They may test your joint movements and muscle strength. They’ll also look at your medical history.
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Treatment Options For Painful Bone Spurs
Asymptomatic heel spurs may not need any treatment. But if youre in pain, you have a number of options. Here at Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, we always start with the conservative options first, including:
- Oral over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Exercise to stretch the calf muscles and plantar fascia
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- Taping or strapping to support strained muscles and tendons
- Shoe inserts or orthotic devices
- Well-fitting shoes
- Night splints
Heel spurs rarely require surgical removal. In fact, more than 90% of patients get better without surgery. But if conservative treatments fail over the course of 9-12 months, surgery may be necessary.
We can perform procedures either to release the plantar fascia, if the conditions are coexisting, or remove the spur under the heel.
What Causes Ball Of Foot Pain
As we age, we generally lose the fat pad underneath the ball of the foot, causing abnormal pressure and shock to the area. Ball of foot pain, also known as metatarsalgia, can also be caused by:
- Certain foot abnormalities, such as hammertoes, which can cause incorrect pressure distribution and abnormal pressure to the ball of the foot
- Having high arches or having a second toe thats longer than the big toe, which can put more weight on the ball of your foot
- An increase in high-impact activities such as running, jumping, or long periods of standing
- Arthritis or joint inflammation in your feet, such as with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
- Wearing shoes that dont fit well or provide adequate support.
- High heels, which transfer your weight onto the front of your foot, can lead to ball of foot pain.
- Shoes that are too tight can also compress your toes and cause pain.
- Athletic or walking shoes that dont provide adequate support can put you at risk for ball of foot pain.
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What Causes Bone Spurs In The Foot
Bone spurs in the foot form when the body tries to repair damage by building extra bone. This damage is typically due to pressure or stress being placed on a bone regularly for a long period of time. In response, a growth of calcium-one of the main components of bone that helps to keep it strong-develops on the affected bone. This becomes a bone spur. When the bone spur grows out of one of the joints on the top of the midfoot, it’s called a tarsal boss. A bone spur on the inside or outside any of the toes is usually referred to as a toe spur.
Any factor that creates too much friction within the foot can lead to a tarsal boss or toe spur. People who have arches in their feet that are either higher or lower than normal-especially runners-are one group that is at risk. High arches force the person to roll their foot too far outward , while low arches lead to rolling too far inward . Walking or running in normal shoes with these types of feet can cause bones and joints to rub against one another and may lead to a tarsal boss. Arthritis can also have a similar effect, since it causes the cartilage that normally protects bones to wear away. Once again, bones will come into contact and a spur can develop in the midfoot or the toes. Other risk factors for bone spurs in the foot include:
What Are Warts And Verruca Pedis
A wart or verruca pedis is a localised virus in the skin. It is usually found in children and resolves during the mid to late teens once the immune system develops further. It can occur as a single wart lesion or in a mosaic appearance with many around the area. In cases where there is no pain, there is no reason to treat. In some people, warts can be very painful as they change the skin structure and can cause hard skin, or callus, to form over them leading to increased pressure.
What Else Causes Pain In The Ball Of The Foot
Metatarsalgia can have countless causes. Rather than listing every possible cause, we wanted to highlight those conditions that have a realistic chance of mimicking or causing ball of foot pain. Some of these conditions can be distinguished from metatarsalgia, and some coincide with this type of inflammation. Feet and extremities are less sensitive than other parts of the body, so pain and sensation can be more difficult to interpret. Before assuming that your foot pain is metatarsalgia, here are some other possible causes that you or your doctor may need to rule out.
- Achilles tendinitis
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Abnormally high or low foot arch
- Pagets disease of bone
- Peripheral neuropathy
What Are Symptoms Of Bone Spurs
Some people have bone spurs and dont even know it. Spurs start to create symptoms when they:
- Put pressure on nearby nerves.
- Restrict movement.
- Rub against other bones or tissues.
When that happens, you may feel some:
- Knobby or bumpy areas, especially in the fingers or toes.
- Numbness and weakness, especially in the legs if the spine has spurs.
- Pain near the affected joint, like heel pain.
- Reduced range of motion .
- Tendinitis .
- Tendon tears .
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Are Heel Spurs The Same Thing As Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are related conditions but they’re not the same. Heres how the two conditions intersect:
- Plantar fasciitis happens when overuse stretches or tears your plantar fascia the ligament that runs between your heel and the ball of your foot. If you have plantar fasciitis, youll probably feel intense stabbing heel pain that comes and goes throughout your day. The pain eases once you walk for a bit but comes back if you sit and then get up to walk some more.
- Heel spurs can happen as a reaction to stress and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis. Over time your body responds to the stress by building extra bone tissue. This extra tissue becomes a heel spur. Most people dont feel pain from their heel spur, but when they do, the pain is like plantar fasciitis pain.
What Are Risk Factors For Heel Spurs
Several factors increase your risk of developing heel spurs. Some factors are things you can change right away or change over time. Others you cannot change.
Changes you can make right now
- If you jog or run, choose soft surfaces like grass and tracks over hard surfaces like sidewalks and pavement.
- Wear shoes that fit and support your arches.
- Wear slippers or shoes if you walk on hardwood or tile floors.
- Adjust the way you walk so theres less pressure on your heels.
Changes you can make over time
- Lose weight so you put less pressure on your foot.
- Change your daily routine so you arent on your feet as much.
Things you can’t change
- As you age, your plantar fascia becomes less flexible, more prone to damage, and more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.
- You gradually lose the natural fat pad cushions on the bottom of your feet.
- You have fat feet or high arches.
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How To Help Prevent Ball Of Foot Pain
Obviously, staying off your feet just isnt an answer to prevent a sore ball of foot. But there are steps you can take to help prevent pain or discomfort. For example:
- Try arch supports: insoles with cushioning and arch support can help minimize the stress on the balls of your feet. Explore Dr. Scholls Arch Support Solutions.
- Wear comfortable and supportive shoes: your shoes should provide cushioning and support for your feet. Shoes with a thicker sole and a wider set toe area can help by redistribute your weight effectively across your foot.
- Wear shoes built for the activity that you use them for. For example, use proper shoes when exercising to evenly distribute weight throughout your feet.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can put unnecessary stress and pressure on your feet, and increase your risk of pain and inflammation.
What Causes Osteophytes
Osteophytes tend to form when the joints have been affected by arthritis.
Osteoarthritis damages cartilage, the tough, white, flexible tissue that lines the bones and allows the joints to move easily.
Osteoarthritis is most common in the knees, hips, spine and small joints of the hands and base of the big toe.
As the joints become increasingly damaged, new bone may form around the joints. These bony growths are called osteophytes.
Osteophytes can also form in the spine as a result of ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that specifically affects the spine.
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What Are The Symptoms
Bone spurs in the foot do not always cause symptoms. If a tarsal boss or toe spur does lead to pain, it’s usually from the pressure of wearing a shoe or rubbing against any other surface. Symptoms tend to begin as an aching or soreness on the top of the midfoot or in any of the toes. Pain can range from mild to severe, but it generally occurs or gets worse when wearing any types of shoes that are too tight or restrictive. Other symptoms may include:
- Redness or swelling
- A corn on the toe or between toes
- Stiffness and loss of motion of the toe or ankle
- Difficulty walking and functioning normally due to pain and loss of motion
What Are Hammertoes
A hammertoe is a condition in which the toe buckles, causing the middle joint of the affected toe to poke out. Tight-fitting shoes that put pressure on the hammertoe often aggravate this condition. Often a corn develops at this site. Treatment for hammertoes may include:
Applying a toe pad specially positioned over the bony protrusion
Changing your footwear to accommodate the deformed toe
This condition is a deformity in which a toe bends downward at the middle joint. The second toe is the one most likely to be affected, but this deformity can occur in other toes as well. Sometimes, more than one toe is affected.
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What Are Heel Spurs
A heel spur is a bone growth on the heel bone. It is usually located on the underside of the heel bone where it attaches to the plantar fascia, a long band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. This connective tissue holds the arch together and acts as a shock absorber during activity. If the plantar fascia is overstretched from running, wearing poor-fitting shoes, or being overweight, pain can result from the stress and inflammation of the tissue pulling on the bone. Over time, the body builds extra bone in response to this stress resulting in heel spurs. Treatment options may include:
What Is Foot Pain
Foot pain can be debilitating to an active lifestyle. Foot pain can have many sources, from fractures and sprains to nerve damage. Listed below are 3 common areas of pain in the foot and their causes:
Pain in the ball of the foot. Pain in the ball of the foot, located on the bottom of the foot behind the toes, may be caused by nerve or joint damage in that area. In addition, a benign growth, such as Morton’s neuroma, may cause the pain. Corticosteroid injections and wearing supportive shoe inserts may help relieve the pain. Sometimes, surgery is needed.
Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by severe pain in the heel of the foot, especially when standing up after resting. The condition is due to an overuse injury of the sole surface of the foot and results in inflammation of the fascia, a tough, fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in women, people who are overweight, people with occupations that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces, people with flat feet, and people with high arches. Walking or running, especially with tight calf muscles, may also cause the condition.
Treatment may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Stretching exercises of the Achilles tendons and plantar fascia
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Spur On Side Of The Foot
At times it is seen that bone spur on side of foot do not cause any symptomatic pain. However, the occurrence of some bone spurs can be severely painful. Some of the symptoms of bone spur on side of foot include-
- The patient may experience intense pain on the foot surface.
- Soreness on the top surface of the foot may be particularly visible.
- The patient may be unable to move the foot much.
- The patient with bone spur on side of foot may notice a form of redness and swelling caused due to inflammation on the surface of the foot.
- The patient may feel numbness and stiffness on the surface of the foot.
- The patient may find it particularly difficult to walk normally due to pain.
What Is A Corn
Corns are yellowish, callus growths that develop on top of the toes. Corns develop because of abuse or stress. Often, a corn develops where a toe rubs against a shoe or another toe. Corns can cause extreme discomfort and pain. Treatment may include:
Trimming the corn by shaving the layers of dead skin
Applying pads around the corn area
Wearing larger shoes to comfortably fit your foot without rubbing
To avoid corn development, always buy shoes that fit properly.
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