If you enjoy running, your feet are your most vulnerable resources. But you can easily be out of the race by getting one of the following painful foot and heel conditions. Here is what you need to know about Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis and what you can do if you develop them.

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the large tendon that connects your calf muscle to your foot and heel bones. It keeps your ankle stable and allows your foot to move up and down. Injuring this tendon causes painful swelling that can keep you off of your feet for days as it heals.

Common Symptoms

  • redness and swelling between your heel and calf muscle
  • pain and stiffness when you try to move your foot up and down
  • intense pain when you press on the attachment point of the tendon to your heel

Common Causes

  • overuse of the tendon which causes stretching and tearing of the tendon fibers
  • poor warm up of the Achilles tendon before exercising or playing sports
  • running shoes that rub against the tendon and irritate it

Treatment Approaches

As soon as the pain and inflammation occur, place an ice pack on your heel to reduce the swelling and pain. Your podiatrist will evaluate the extent of the inflammation and make one or more treatment recommendations:

  • Physical therapy - This is done to slowly stretch out the tendon, increase the circulation and decrease the inflammation. You will also be shown exercises to keep the tendon relaxed to prevent painful spasms from occurring in the calf muscle.
  • Ankle support - A custom orthotic may be used to support the foot and ankle as the torn tendon fibers heal.
  • Medication - Anti-inflammatory and pain medication, such as ibuprofen, may be used to reduce the pain and swelling.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot to hold your arch in place. Inflammation of this tissue can be so painful that you can't place weight in your foot.

Common Symptoms

  • burning feeling along the bottom of the foot
  • intense pain where the tissue attaches to the heel bones when putting weight on your foot

The pain and swelling may not appear until the day after you've injured the tissue in your foot. You may try to get out of bed and find that you can't put weight on your foot without severe pain.

Common Causes

  • poor warm up of the foot muscles before exercise or playing sports
  • overuse of the foot muscles
  • shoes that don't support your arch and cause the plantar fascia to overstretch

Treatment Approaches

Using an ice pack on the bottom of your foot may relieve the pain temporarily, but you'll still have difficulty putting weight on your foot. Your podiatrist will recommend treatment similar to that for an inflamed Achilles tendon.

  • Physical therapy - You'll use exercises to stretch out the plantar fascia to prevent it from contracting and preventing you from walking.
  • Shoe inserts - Orthotic inserts are used to support your arch and take the pressure off of the bottom of your foot while the tissue heals.
  • Medication - Anti-inflammatory and pain medications will reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Steroid injections - An injection of a steroid at the point of attachment of the plantar fascia to your heel will give immediate relief from the pain and swelling.
  • Surgery - Should the condition frequently occur, surgery may be recommended on the plantar fascia to prevent stretching of the tissue.

For more information or to seek additional help, got to websites like http://www.westmorelandfootdoctor.com.