Living with Fibro

Heel pains and Fibromyalgia

Heel pain is one of the most common pain in fibromyalgia although it is not considered the primary pain concern.

Fibromyalgia is a condition which affects the muscles and soft tissues. It causes chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes and stress management.

According to a study published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, 50 percent of the 202 patients studied with fibromyalgia reported foot problems.

It states that for people with fibromyalgia, foot pain is more severe and involves a more general region in the foot.

The pain in the heels

The heel pain is caused by many different conditions. Whether you suffer from plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or any other heel pain-causing affliction.

For example, plantar fasciitis causes heel or ach pain after arising or after extended activity. It is a common source of foot pain.

A person’s soft connective tissue under the foot becomes inflamed and sore with this condition. Experts believe that it is due to bad choices in footwear and therefore, choosing a supportive arch may help prevent the pain.

The heel pain occurs on the bottom of the heel and is caused by inflammation in a ligament. One can experience the pain in the middle bottom of the heel or along the back of the arch where it meets the heel.

Plantar fasciitis

A Plantar fasciitis is seen in both those with flat feet as well as those with high arches. Flat feet, which are usually the cause of this condition, allow for chronic stretching and tearing of the fascia where it attaches to the heel bone.

The foot does not have to be severely flat for this to occur, as moderate flattening can cause damage also. High arches, another common cause, allow for abnormal shock to be transmitted to the heel with every step.

Direct injuries or traumatic tearing of the tissue (either miniscule, partial, or complete), though less common, can also cause inflammation to the plantar fascia. Though possibly self-healing over a long period of time, this condition can last for many years when no treatment is given, and can make activity nearly impossible.

The causes of Heel Pain

Even though there is no clear consensus about what causes fibromyalgia, many experts believe that it is caused from a combination of many physical and emotional stressors. There are various theories about the causes if fibromyalgia, from hormonal disturbances to stress to genetics.

The pain behind the heel can usually be caused by inflammation of the Achilles tendon (tendonitis), as well as inflammation due to extra bone growth in the heel bone (Haglund’s deformity and heel spurs).

Achilles tendonitis is very common in many people and activity only worsens the condition. It develops for a wide variety of reasons.

These include chronic stretching of the tendon from unbalanced motion, violent injuries forcing the foot upward, and blunt pressure on the back of the heel itself as when someone steps on another’s heel.

When combined with a spur or enlargement of the back of the heel bone, even simple shoe use can be painful as the heel rubs against the back of the shoe.

The pain can feel dull, sharp and knife-like, throbbing, aching, or all of the above. This pain usually goes down with rest and inactivity, and resumes with simple motion at the ankle or full activity.

How to treat heel pain

Even though surgery is rarely required, it is suggested that a combination therapy of inflammation reduction with anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, icing and stretching is required, along with arch support through prescription shoe inserts (orthotics) to stabilize and support a flat foot or provide shock absorption to a high arched foot.

Treatment focuses on stretching of the Achilles tendon, along with icing, anti-inflammatory medication, ankle bracing, and physical therapy.

A tight Achilles tendon makes recovery incredibly difficult, and stretching becomes the most important aspect of this treatment course.

Icing and anti-inflammatory medication relieve the inflamed tissue around and in the tendon, and bracing prevents excessive tendon pulling.

Heel pains and Fibromyalgia

Steroid injection

Using of a steroid injection (cortisone-like medication, not a bodybuilding steroid) is said to have the most immediate effect on patients with the pain.

Even though the decrease in inflammation can take up to a week to occur after the injection or up to three injections may be required for it work. It is recommended to split two weeks apart.

Anti-inflammatory medications

The Anti-inflammatory medications like strong prescription versions of ibuprofen, also help reduce the body’s overall state of inflammation, thus reducing pain further.

The inflammation control will help reduce the pain, and help heal the injury as long as it has not reached a chronic stage of scarring and ongoing inflammation called fasciosis.

Icing and stretching

To reduce the inflammation, icing of the arch and heel is also recommended. Stretching of the arch and calf to make the bottom of the foot more limber, reducing damage to the fascia is also necessary.

All of these methods will help to reduce pain and improve mobility, as well as foster full healing. It is very important to diagnose and treat Fibromyalgia.

Most people ignore their pain until it is very advanced. For example, an untreated Achilles tendonitis can lead to tendon degeneration and even rupture and this would require surgical repair in many cases.

A person who is diagnosed with fibromyalgia and wants to avoid unnecessary foot pain must go and see his or her doctor.

This will help you make better decisions and keep your feet healthy when you are about to start an exercise regimen.

Make sure that you choose the right shoes for any kind of activities you want to do, start your routine gently (do not overdo your exercise or wear too high a heel) expect and accept some discomfort (A little discomfort when you begin an exercise program is not unusual) and switch to lower heels for everyday wear.

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Living with Fibro

4 Comments

  • I had very high arches as a young lady and also suffered from heel pain. I never connected the two, and I had no idea why my heels were hurting so much because I had no obvious injury and my shoes didn’t hurt. Eventually, I outgrew the pain and forgot about it, but when I saw this article, my radar went up.

    Hurting arches (or hurting feet in general) can be really problematic, as so much of life’s activity requires us to move around freely. I remember being in pain going from classroom to classroom or especially when outside in the schoolyard. I was always proud of my high arches, as they made my feet look like dancers’ feet! (Not that I ever had any dancing talent.) I never connected the link between the high arches and the pain.

    Thanks for the clarifying info about the relationship between the two conditions. For anyone still suffering from this, my heart goes out. I hope you’ve got some ideas about what to do to find relief now.

  • Foot pain has been excruciatingl for weeks into months recently! Some days are worse than others when it’s like walking on pebbles! I will mention it to my GP though if she will do anything is doubtful!

    • Ask your doctor if it is possible that you have Ledderhose Disease aka plantar fibromas. I have them and when they first stated it felt like a stone bruise and there was a knot/bump I felt in my arch.

      • Oh my that is exactly what mine was like I wondered if I was the only one like this. Was diagnosed with Fybromyalgia in 1986. Have had wide spread pain for years. But just keep moving Than about 7 months ago this started. It isn’t fun.

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