Pronation can be a major cause of foot pain. Pronation describes a slight inward rolling motion the foot makes during a normal walking or running stride. The foot (and ankle) roles slightly inward to accommodate movement. Some people, however, over-pronate and roll more than normal. With over-pronation, the arch of the foot flattens and causes excessive stress and pressure on the soft tissues of the foot. Over-pronation is more common in those with flat feet, and can lead to foot aches and pain, such as plantar fascitis, shin splints and knee pain. A properly fitted orthotic can help correct over pronation allowing proper foot function and relief of pain.
The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the rear foot, especially while standing or walking.
Treatment and Prevention:
The key for the proper treatment of heel spurs is determining what is causing the excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. When the cause is over-pronation (flat feet), an orthotic with rearfoot posting and longitudinal arch support is an effective device to reduce the over-pronation, and allow the condition to heal. People with unusually high arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly higher incidence of heel spurs due to the types of footwear often worn on a regular basis.
An orthotic can also be used in this situation as well. In some cases a heel spur pad may be recommended.