Texas Foot Doctor's Blog
Posts for tag: Heel Pain
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
Are you dealing with heel pain? If so, you aren’t alone. Foot pain, particularly heel pain, is one of the most common complaints and most people will deal with pain at some point during their lifetime. Whether you are on your feet all day for work or you are a runner, there are many risk factors that can play into your likelihood to deal with heel pain. If heel pain is happening to you, you may be wondering what’s causing it and how you can get rid of the pain quickly.
Causes of Heel Pain
As you might imagine, there are many reasons why you might be experiencing heel pain. The root cause will also determine the best course of action for getting your symptoms under control while providing the optimal healing environment for a speedy recovery.
The most common cause of heel pain is an acute inflammatory condition known as plantar fasciitis, in which the thick band of tissue that runs along the soles of the feet from the toes to the heel (known as the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed. Of course, there are other reasons people experience heel pain. Other causes include:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Stress fracture
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Heel spur
- Osteomyelitis (an infection of the bone)
- Page’s disease of bone
- Peripheral neuropathy
Heel Pain Treatment Options
For more mild-to-moderate cases of heel pain, your podiatrist may recommend simple conservative treatment options that you can incorporate into your daily routine from the comfort of home. This is usually the first course of action, unless the condition is more serious. Only once we’ve exhausted at-home care and pain is still present do we decide on more aggressive tactics for handling your symptoms.
Common at-home heel pain treatment options include:
- OTC pain relievers (e.g. ibuprofen)
- Icing the heel several times a day
- Bracing or splinting the foot
- Wearing custom orthotics (shoe inserts)
- Wearing protective and supportive shoes
- Resting and avoiding certain activities or high-impact exercises
If you’ve tried these treatment options for weeks and still don’t notice any change in your symptoms—or if symptoms get worse—then it’s time to visit your foot doctor again to determine the next step. If pain and swelling are severe we may recommend steroid injections, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) or ultrasound therapy. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the imbalance, deformity, or problem that’s causing your chronic or severe heel pain.
Don’t let heel pain affect your day-to-day life when there are simple and easy solutions to manage your symptoms and promote faster healing. Turn to a podiatrist who will be able to handle your heel pain and get your foot health back on track.
Our feet and ankles are prone to a number of problems at different stages of life. Below is a list of common foot and ankle problems. With each issue, you can find quick advice for finding relief from your ailment, and if you experience any of the following conditions, contact your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment options.
A bunion is a painful enlargement at the joint of the big toe. An important part of treatment is to wear shoes that conform to the shape of your foot and do not cause pressure areas. By doing this, you can often alleviate your pain. However, severe cases can be disabling. Visit your podiatrist for further treatment options if the change in shoes does not provide relief.
Heel pain is extremely common and can often begin without injury. You will often feel pain under the heel while standing or walking, with symptoms at their worst when first arising out of bed. Most cases will improve on their own. Heel stretching, medication to reduce swelling of the soft tissues of the foot and orthotics can all be helpful in providing relief from your heel pain. For prolonged and troubling cases, visit your podiatrist for further treatment.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are caused by pressure on the skin of your foot. Treatment involves relieving the pressure on the skin, usually by modifying the shoe. Pads to relieve the bony pressure are helpful, but they must be positioned carefully. A visit to your podiatrist will help in the treatment planning.
Plantar warts occur on the sole of the foot and look like calluses. They result from an infection by a specific virus and are like other warts, but they grow inward. Plantar warts are difficult to treat, but success has been achieved with repeated applications of salicylic acid to soften the overlying callus and expose the virus. Other treatments include injecting the warts with medication, freezing them with liquid nitrogen and, very rarely, surgery. Your podiatrist can create the best treatment plan for your plantar warts.
Heel pain is one of the leading problems that sends patients to visit their podiatrist, and it’s no wonder. The relentless ache in the bottom of your foot or the sharp pain as you step out of bed in the morning is often enough to persuade even the most stubborn patient to make an appointment with his or her podiatrist.
Because there are many potential causes of heel pain, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, nerve damage or arthritis, it’s important to have your foot examined by a podiatrist with expert training in heel pain. Our practice will examine your foot, determine the underlying source of your heel pain, assess your symptoms, make a proper diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan based on your individual case. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent more serious problems.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, occurring when the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that connects the heel to the toes becomes irritated and inflamed. When the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension, tissues of the fascia may tear or stretch, which leads to pain.
Faulty foot structures, such as flat feet or high arches, are common causes of plantar fasciitis. Non-supportive shoes and increased weight or strain may aggravate the condition as well.
Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
- Bottom of the heel pain
- Pain that intensifies after sitting for extended periods of time and subsides after a few minutes of walking
- Pain that worsens over a period of months
Most types of heel pain, once properly diagnosed, can be successfully treated with conservative measures, such as use of anti-inflammatory medications and ice, rest, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, footwear modifications and physical therapy. The longer heel pain is allowed to progress, the longer treatment can take. When plantar fasciitis doesn’t respond to conservative care, your podiatrist may recommend surgery as a last resort. Always seek care from our office for heel pain in its earliest stages for proper treatment.
When your feet hurt, your entire body hurts, especially when you're suffering from painful neuromas or heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Generally, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy or orthotics can effectively treat the pain. But when these conservative treatments aren't enough, chronic heel pain may require surgical treatment.
At our practice, we can treat irritating heel pain and get you back to your active lifestyle quickly with a new, fast-acting procedure known as Cryosurgery. For decades, this technique has been used for various areas of the body and is now proving to be very successful at helping treat and manage foot and ankle conditions.
Also known as Cryotherapy, Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive procedure performed comfortably in our office in just one appointment to alleviate pain and nerve problems of the foot.
Using localized freezing temperatures to deaden the irritated nerve, the treatment involves inserting a probe into the tissue of the foot. The extreme freezing temperatures produce an anesthetic effect, reducing inflammation to the site and causing a mild "numbing" effect for as long as it is applied. The freezing inactivates the nerve and, as a result, painful nerve irritation is relieved.
Benefits of Cryosurgery include:
- Painless procedure
- Use of local anesthetic
- In-office performed procedure
- Minimal to no downtime from walking, work and other activities
- Decreased use of pain medications that can cause complications
- No stitches, hospitalization or sedation are required
Cryosurgery has proven to be an effective and popular alternative for treating many chronic and painful foot ailments that involve irritation of an isolated nerve of the foot. If you're looking to get rid of your heel pain, but haven't had much success with conservative treatments, visit our office and find out if you are a good candidate for Cryosurgery.