Heel-spur problems | NevadaAppeal.com

Heel-spur problems

Jerry Vance
For the Appeal

Your feet are interesting tools that get a lot of use. They have a great ability for movement, control and strength for pushing forward and backward for balance. It’s what keeps you upright and moving.

If you develop a sore spot on one of those feet, you may find yourself incapacitated, especially if you are active in any type of impact sport. You only consider pain in your feet when pain occurs during an activity.

If you have already developed a sore spot on the foot or heel area, what can you do? Even when you rest that foot for three weeks, the sore place will only return when you resume exercise. Several causes of heel pain exist during exercise; the most common are overuse injuries in the Achilles tendons or injuries or pressure from plantar fascia, commonly called heel spurs.

Heel spurs may develop suddenly from injury, or it can be a gradual overuse syndrome that comes over a long period. Causes of this problem usually fall into four categories. The shoe heel is too stiff, causing the foot to use extra force to bend the shoe on the push off movement of a stride. The extra force concentrates itself in the plantar fascia area and can tear it.

Having a high arch is another reason for the problem. You will need adequate support for the foot to alleviate the stress placed on the heel during the flat part of the foot strike.

Third, any sudden turn in a sport will cause extra stress on the heel and can result in a tear to the arch ligament that attaches to the heel bone.

And, fourth, look at your feet. Do they, one or both, pronate? Meaning, do your feet roll inwards when they flatten? This puts extra stress and tension on the plantar fascia when the foot is flat and toes spread.

Knowing what caused your foot pain is easy, but keeping it from happening again and again is harder. Easing the pain after it has become acute and correcting the problem is sometimes difficult. Your feet are in use every day and it is almost impossible to stay off them, so the pain keeps returning and becomes worse.

Walking, which is a heel-to-toe motion, will cause pain; aerobics with its toe-heel motion will stretch and aggravate the condition. Heel pads, soft heel-counter shoes and cushioned running surfaces may all be of help in the healing process. Or you may have to confine your fitness moves to the swimming pool or bicycle machine until the irritated areas heal.

• Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.