Heel Pain in Fibromyalgia
Posted: Jun 07, 2022
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain problem that has a miserable effect on the quality of life of those who have it. Poor sleep is a common risk factor for fibromyalgia and poorer sleep is a consequence of it as well. There are often multiple trigger points in muscles that can be quite painful. Fatigue is a really common symptom that those with it often need to rest at times during the days. Other symptoms such as headaches are also common. Not a lot is known about the cause of fibromyalgia, but it is assumed to be due to something triggering an abnormal pain response or sensitization in those who have a genetic predisposition. There is no cure for fibromyalgia at this stage and all that can often be done is different treatments to help with the symptoms. Unfortunately, what works well for one person does not work well for another and there is no universally acceptable treatment. Getting some aerobic exercise and getting a good sleep is considered important. These are some medications that can be tried, but not one drug helps all those with the symptoms.
Heel pain in fibromyalgia can be a particular problem as heel pain is very common even in those without fibromyalgia. So, if someone with fibromyalgia gets heel pain, is it just the typical heel pain that others get or is it part of the fibromyalgia syndrome. And even if it is the typical heel pain that they have, having fibromyalgia will probably make the symptoms more severe than what they would be for the amount of tissue damage that is present. This makes the management of heel pain in those with fibromyalgia very complex to manage. The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis which is an inflammation of the plantar fascia which attaches to the bottom of the heel. The role of the plantar fascia is to support the arch of the foot. The typical pain of plantar fasciitis is that it is more painful for those first few steps in the morning when you get up to walk. In those with fibromyalgia the pain from this is going to just be much more painful. In addition, in those with plantar fasciitis, they often develop trigger points in the small muscles in the arch of the foot. In fibromyalgia those trigger points are part of the syndrome, so this further complicates the situation in these people. The management of heel pain in those with fibromyalgia is not different to the management of the regular type of heel pain. Foot orthotics are commonly used. There needs to be a lot of stretching of the calf muscles and the arch area. Shock wave therapy is commonly used. In those with fibromyalgia, particular attention should be given to the trigger points in the arch and the general management of fibromyalgia. This can mean regular aerobic exercise and strategies to help improve the sleep. Medications may be needed to help with the generalized pain which will also help the heel pain.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.