Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Heartbreak Heel

Q: My problem is a painful heel and I've been diagnosed as having a "heel spur." Not much was told to me about how to treat it or get rid of it. I would appreciate your help.

Bottineau, ND

A: Heel spur syndrome is a very painful and sometimes debilitating inflammation of the plantar fascia, dense connective tissue that attaches at the heel and spreads through the arch of the foot, reattaching to the forefoot.

There are two parts to the problem. One is the inflammation, called plantar fasciitis, and the other is the heel spur itself, a small piece of bone that grows out from the heel bone where the plantar fascia attaches.

To complicate things further, it is possible to have heel spurs without symptoms, and to have plantar fasciitis without a heel spur.

The goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation with rest, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and to protect the area with a heel pad. Cut a hole in the center of the heel in a sorbothane or felt pad under the sore area and wear it in your shoe to provide a cushion for your heel. If you have a high-arched foot, an arch support will reduce tension on the fascia.

You should stop weight-bearing activity until you are pain free and can rub the heel area without pain. This may take four weeks to three months. Keep in shape by biking or swimming. Icing for 15 minutes at the end of the day will reduce swelling and inflammation. Massaging and stretching the sole of the foot and toes can also be very helpful.

Be careful to let this injury calm down before you return to too much activity. Most heel pain responds to conservative treatment - specially if you rest and stretch enough - but some may eventually need surgical repair.

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
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