June 30, 2017
Heel Spurs, Plantar Fasciitis, and a Man Called Wolff

What is this pain in my foot?

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are two of the most common causes of foot pain.  Heel spurs are jagged calcium deposits that grow out of the heel bone.  Once heel spurs have developed, they can cause permanent damage to the foot so prevention is important.

Plantar Fasciitis

While some people are genetically disposed to developing heel spurs, they often also develop from repeated strain and injury to the bottom of the foot.  The plantar fascia is a wide band of connective tissue that stretches from the heel bone to the ball of the foot.  If this tissue is repeatedly inflamed- a condition called plantar fasciitis- heel spurs can develop where the fascia attaches to the heel bone. 

Wolff’s Law

Wolffe’s Law says that bones can develop “adaptations” in response to the mechanics of movement [1].  With repeated poor mechanics, the heel bone can adapt by making more bone in the form of heel spurs. X-Ray of Heel Spurs This extra bone gives more support to the inflamed fascia but at the cost of eventually causing pain and damage as well.  Many people believe that Heel Spurs are the source of the pain, while in reality, the Spurs are the body’s natural adaption to the problem.

The Root Cause

Ultimately, plantar fasciitis comes from either trauma to the bottom of the foot from overuse and lack of flexibility putting undo strain on the Plantar Fascia.  Some of the typical causes are:

  • New Activities (A new workout routine)
  • Carrying heavy loads
  • Poor footwear
  • Obesity
  • Standing for long periods of time

Many times it is the combination of these causes that will contribute to overuse and injury of the fascia.

Treating the root cause

To avoid heel spurs, you must prevent plantar fasciitis.  Your foot should be well supported with proper shoes or orthotics.  Both arch support and heel cushioning are necessary.  If you do develop heel spurs, orthotic heel cups will be needed to prevent and control the pain.

Stretching is also key as the tightness up the back of the leg will put more strain on the Fascia. Regular Calf Stretches and foot exercises should be part of your routine.  Stretching the foot also brings more oxygen to the area which is important after a period of exertion.

Calf Stretch for Plantar Fasciitis

The tools you need

Pains and Strains offer a toolkit to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis.  This kit gives instructions and supplies for proper stretching and strengthening.  The night splint helps to keep the foot aligned as you sleep, giving overworked fascia a break.  The SnOH Ball should also be used if you develop fasciitis to decrease the inflammation and help keep heel spurs at bay. 

Your feet do so much for you.  Help them out by preventing pains and strains!

Plantar Fasciitis Care Kit

1] Ruff, Christopher, Brigitte Holt, and Trinkaus, E. (2006). Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolff?: “Wolff's Law” And Bone Functional Adaptation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 12[9(4), 484-498. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16425178


Joe McClung

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