Heel pain is one of the most common issues we see in our office, and yet the number of patients we see for it is still much lower than the number of people who should be coming in to have it treated!
Pain in the heels is one of those problems that is so commonplace that sometimes people just suspect that’s the way it will always be for them. Sure, perhaps they try one or two methods for finding relief, only to find they don’t work and then assume they’re simply stuck with what they have.
The tricky part about heel pain is that, although it seems like a simple symptom on the surface, it can stem from a wide variety of different causes. Determining that cause and applying the right treatment is the key to finding relief—and effective treatment is possible so much more often than many suspect.
Causes of Heel Pain
Some of the more common causes of heel pain include:
- Plantar Fasciitis. This very common form of heel pain is the result of a strong band of tissue along the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia) becoming inflamed. This is often due to repetitive overuse—often from running—or having a foot structure that places excess stress on the plantar fascia (e.g. flat feet). An infamous symptom of plantar fasciitis is having heel pain as soon as you get up in the morning, or after long periods of stillness.
- Achilles Tendinitis. This is inflammation of the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. Overuse is another common cause here, but having tight calf muscles that pull on the tendon (and the attached heel bone) can also be a contributing factor. Pain from Achilles tendinitis tends to be felt just above the back of the heel.
- Heel Spurs. A bony growth of calcium that develops on the heel bone, a spur is not always responsible for pain in the heel. Many exist while causing no problems whatsoever. But if a heel spur develops in the wrong spot and in the wrong way, it can cause pain and irritation.
There are many other potential causes, including bursitis, nerve damage, and arthritis. The right diagnosis is vital to receiving treatment that targets and effectively helps your pain.
Conservative Treatments for Heel Pain
The good news for heel pain is that, no matter how long you have had a condition, odds are good that a conservative form of treatment can help you relieve or manage your pain. Surgery is only considered if no other options are available or effective, and that is rare.
Treatments will vary upon diagnosis and individual needs, but we are proud to offer a wide range of traditional-to-advanced methods.
Our MLS laser therapy can provide relief of pain and inflammation for many soft tissue injuries, whether the condition has only just started or has lasted for some time. Sessions are painless and the positive effects stack over consecutive appointments.
If the pain is caused by an abnormality in foot structure, custom orthotics can provide much-needed support and cushioning in the right spots, thereby providing lasting relief and comfort throughout the day.
Additional treatments may be recommended based on your case. We will be sure to discuss the pros and cons of all suggestions with you to ensure you can make a decision in full confidence.
Heel pain is never something you just have to endure as part of your life. No matter how long you have lived with it, Foot & Ankle Clinics of Arizona can help make a difference. Schedule an appointment with us by calling (480) 917-2300 or using our online service.
Dr. Spencer Niemann explains Endoscopic Fasciotomy, a surgical procedure done to relieve heel pain.