Heel Pain Glossary


Abnormal Gait – A person may be born with a physical anomoly of the foot or develop an anomoly over time that causes weight to be distributed unevenly as they step. An abnormal gait is a major risk factor for the development of plantar fasciitis. Proper orthotic devices can help correct an abnormal gait.

Achilles Rupture – The Achilles tendon may rupture in the presence of an untreated case of Achilles tendinitis. Typically accompanied by a popping sensation and sound, this serious injury requires immediate medical attention.

Achilles Tendinitis – The Achilles tendon is a band of tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone along the back of the leg. Achilles tendinitis results from overuse of this tendon and commonly occurs in athletes and other highly active individuals. Requires medical attention.

Acupressure – An alternative medicine therapy in which gentle pressure is applied to specific points on the body, thought to stimulate a healing response. Heel That Pain’s orthotic inserts, such as HTP Heel Seats, deliver therapeutic acupressure to the heel bone.

Acupuncture – A form of alternative medicine thought to stimulate health and healing via a mechanism of small needles. Though acupuncture is unlikely to resolve the underlying causes of a condition like Plantar Fasciitis, it can be an effective supplemental therapy for reducing pain and distress.

Aging – A loss of elasticity in the ligaments of the foot is not uncommon as part of the normal aging process. Elders may develop plantar fasciitis as the plantar fascia ligament loses elasticity.

American Podiatric Medical Association – Founded in 1912, the APMA represents the majority of the United States’ 15,000 podiatrists and is a leading source of foot health education.

Arch – The concaved arch of the foot is comprised of 24 bones and consists of the longitudinal arch, spanning the length of the foot and the transverse arch, spanning the width of the foot.

Arch Pain – Discomfort in the concaved middle section of the sole of the foot. Typically involves inflammation as a result of repeat stress.

Back Pain – An irregular walking gait, commonly associated with conditions like Plantar Fasciitis, can cause pain not only in the feet, but also in the legs and back, due to the body’s normal balance becoming compromised.

Bone Spurs – A hard calcium deposit build-up on a bone. In the human foot, these spurs may form on the heel bone, often in conjunction with Plantar Fasciitis.

Calcaneal Nerve Entrapment – The calcaneal nerve is located inside of the heel. If it becomes trapped, a burning sensation, similar to that experienced in plantar fasciitis, can result. Requires a medical diagnosis with a health care professional.

Calcaneal Spurs – Also known as heel spurs, these bony protrusions of calcium build up on the heel bone, frequently causing pain.

Calcaneus – The heel bone.

Clinical Study – A clinical study or trial seeks to research a health issue via a series of questions asked of volunteer human participants.

Corticosteroid Injection – Typically reserved for extreme cases of plantar fasciitis. Corticosteroid injections may be prescribed by a doctor for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Elliptical – An elliptical machine provides a low-impact form of exercise for plantar fasciitis sufferers who must avoid high-impact activities like jogging.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) – A procedure originally developed to dissolve kidney stones, ESWT may also sometimes be recommended as a modality for stimulating healing processes in conditions of the foot, such as Plantar Fasciitis.

Fascia-Bar – A unique patented technology developed over the course of 30 years for use in Heel That Pain’s orthotic devices. Fascia-Bar technology is clinically proven to relieve heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis because it treats the underlying physical condition.

Flat Feet – A condition in which the arch of the foot lacks a normal, supportive curve. Can be hereditary or develop from repeat stresses being placed on the foot. Also known as overpronation, flat feet are a risk factor for the development of plantar fasciitis.

Full Length Heel Seats – A Heel That Pain orthotic device featuring clinically proven Fascia-Bar technology. In contrast to HTP Heel Seats, which support the heel, Full Length Heel Seats span the entire sole of the foot with added arch support.

GEL Heel Seats – A Heel That Pain orthotic device featuring softer GEL material construction and patented Fascia-Bar technology. Specifically designed to treat the underlying causes of plantar fasciitis.

Golf Ball Exercise – A massage therapy for Plantar Fasciitis in which the sole of the foot is massaged with a golf ball.

Heel Pain – Dull, sharp, burning or aching sensation centering in the bottom or back of the heel pad of the foot.

Heel Pain Stretches / Exercises – Simple stretching of the foot and calf to improve the health of the plantar fascia ligament.

Heel Seats – A product created by Heel That Pain, featuring patented Fascia-Bar technology, delivering specialized treatment to plantar fasciitis sufferers.

Heel Spur Surgery – Incisions made in the heel by a surgeon for the purpose of removing bony calcium growths on the heel, known as heel spurs.

Heel Spurs – Also known as calcaneal spurs, these calcium build-ups form on the heel and can cause pain by prodding into the fatty tissues of the heel pad.

High-impact Exercise – The term ‘high-impact’, in this case, refers to any activity involving sharp impact between the foot and the ground or other hard surface. Such activities might include jogging, playing basketball or doing gymnastics. High-impact exercise, without adequate rest, is a risk factor for the development of Plantar Fasciitis and other health conditions.

Icing – A home remedy suggested for many painful conditions of the foot. Ice should never be applied directly to the skin, but should be introduced in a cup, towel or other protective medium. Application of ice should never exceed 15-20 minutes at a time.

Improper Footwear – Shoes that lack a supportive sole, that cramp the feet or tilt them at an unnatural angle are leading causes of injury to the foot. Shoes that have worn down in the insole or sole can also create health problems.

Laser Treatment – Low-laser therapy may be recommended in some cases of Plantar Fasciitis. In this process, a light beam is directed at the affected area in hopes of reducing inflammation. While it may be used as a supplemental therapy, laser treatment is unlikely to resolve the undelying causes of Plantar Fasciitis.

Ligament – A band of fibrous, elastic tissue connecting bone or cartilage. The major ligament in the sole of the foot is the plantar fascia ligament.

Metatarsalgia – Foot pain centered around the five metatarsal bones spanning from the arch of the foot to the base of the toes. Typically involves inflammation.

Morning Heel Pain – A common diagnostic symptom of plantar fasciitis in which the patient experiences pain in one or both heels upon first arising from bed.

Morton’s Neuroma – Pain centered in the forefoot, near the third and fourth toes. Can be caused by nerve injury or by irritation of the toes, resulting in nerve swelling and the growth of non-cancerous tissue.

Night Splints – Orthotic devices worn at night on the foot as a therapeutic remedy for conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

Obesity – Weight gain places undue stress on all parts of the foot and is a major contributing factor in plantar fasciitis. Developing a safe plan for weight loss can greatly reduce the risk and symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Orthotic – A device designed to improve or support the structural biomechanics of the foot in the presence of a health problem. Orthotics may include shoe inserts, splints, wraps and other devices.

Plantar Fascia Ligament – An elastic ligament spanning the arch of the foot from heel to ball. Vital to flexion of the foot.

Plantar Fasciitis – A leading cause of heel pain involving inflammation and small tears in the plantar fascia ligament.

Plantar Fasciitis Prevention – Maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate rest and wearing properly fitting shoes with good support can help prevent the development of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis Surgery – In rare, extreme cases, surgery may be recommended as a treatment for plantar fasciitis. In this procedure, the plantar fascia ligament is cut by a surgeon to relieve tension.

Plantar Fasciitis Taping – A method of reducing stress on an injured plantar fascia ligament by limiting motion through the use of athletic tape.

Plantar Fasciosis – Damage to the plantar fascia ligament in the absence of inflammation.

Plantar Fibromatosis – The growth of bumps or nodules on the plantar fascia ligament which may require surgical removal.

Pronation – A condition occurring when the arch of the foot collapses, turning the foot outward at the ankle and causing the walking gait to shift to the inner side of the foot. Pronation can be hereditary or can develop over time. Orthotic shoe inserts can correct pronation.

Resting – In the presence of a condition like Plantar Fasciitis, it is imperative that the sufferer give their feet adequate rest. The patient should sit down and put their feet up for 20 minutes at least twice a day.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – A condition of inflammation involving joints, tissues and organs. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a risk factor for developing plantar fasciitis.

Stress Fracture of the Foot – Typically the result of prolonged, undue stress and pressure on the foot. Can cause multiple problems with the heel bone and metatarsal bones. Requires medical treatment.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – A condition involving a pinched tibial nerve in the foot, resulting in inflammation and pain. Treatment may require medication, physical therapy and the use of an orthotic device.

Ultrasound – In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, ultrasound therapy may be used to send sound waves through the affected areas of the foot. This can provide a temporary reduction of pain, but does not treat underlying causes.

Vitamins and Minerals – A number of vitamins and minerals are believed to support good foot health. These include calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, MSM, arnica, turmeric and bromaline.

Water Bottle Stretch – An exercise designed to gently stretch the plantar fascia ligament by rolling the sole of the foot repeatedly over a water bottle.

Wraps – In the case of plantar fasciitis, a soft orthotic device wrapped around the foot to alleviate stress on the plantar fascia.

Yoga – An exercise discipline involving stretches and breathing. Because it is a low-impact form of exercise, yoga can often be practiced even by individuals with Plantar Fasciitis.

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