If you are suffering from heel pain, there are four important things you should know:
- One, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic heel pain, and it’s one of the most common conditions we see at our practice.
- Two, even though heel pain is very common, it is never normal. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is very wrong.
- Three, if you do nothing to try to alleviate your heel pain, it will almost certainly get worse rather than better.
- Four, heel pain can almost always be treated successfully, through non-surgical means. And our practice is here to help you every step of the way.
At Fixing Feet Institute, Dr. Peyman and Dr. Viedra Elison have extensive experience treating heel pain in all its forms—and even have some advanced treatment options available to help with the most stubborn, chronic cases.
Whatever may be causing your discomfort and keeping you from what you love to do, we can help.
Conditions that Cause Heel Pain
Heel pain is a symptom, not a condition or diagnosis. There are, in fact, several different conditions that can cause heel pain.
During your examination, we will thoroughly investigate your symptoms in order to identify the correct cause. We will also talk with you about your activities and lifestyle. This allows us to personalize a treatment plan that will be best for you.
Common conditions that cause heel pain include:
- Plantar fasciitis. Inflammation of the plantar fascia—a band of connective tissue that stretches from the bottom of the heel bone to the ball of the foot—is called plantar fasciitis by medical professionals. Inflammation occurs when too much strain causes small tears in the plantar fascia.
- Heel spurs. Chronic plantar fasciitis may lead to the formation of enlarged bony deposits on the heel bone, known as heel spurs. They do not always cause pain on their own, but sometimes do.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome. This condition involves pinching of the tibial nerve, which gives movement and sensation to the calf and foot muscles. The nerve can be pinched from putting pressure on the nerve for a long period of time or from direct trauma.
- Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon—the largest tendon in the body—which connects the calf muscles to the heel. This condition is very commonly associated with exercise. You may develop Achilles tendonitis if you have not stretched properly before exercising or if you increased your level and amount of activity too quickly.
- Stress fractures. Fractures are broken bones. A stress fracture comes from repeated pressure on an area of the foot that eventually causes cracks to form on the exterior surface of the bone. Further stress can cause those cracks to deepen, or even lead to a more severe broken bone.
- Peripheral Arterial Disease. This condition means your lower extremities are not getting a sufficient blood supply, which can result in numbness or intense pain. Patients with diabetes are especially susceptible to developing this disease.
- Subtalar joint arthritis. The subtalar joint is located where the heel bone (calcaneus) meets the ankle bone (talus). If the cartilage becomes worn at this joint, it may cause heel pain, especially when walking on uneven surfaces.
Heel Pain Treatment at Fixing Feet Institute
As previously mentioned, almost all cases of heel pain—regardless of the cause—can usually be solved through non-invasive therapies. Surgery is sometimes considered when all other options fail, but it is rarely necessary.
During your appointment, we will conduct a thorough physical examination, including any diagnostic testing that may be deemed necessary. We’ll also talk with you about your symptoms, your concerns, your lifestyle goals, and what you want out of treatment. From there, we can begin to develop an appropriate treatment response customized to your needs.
This can include elements such as:
- RICE therapy. Short for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, RICE is often a great way to handle pain and swelling and help your body heal.
- Physical therapy. Various stretching exercises and other physical therapy tools or strategies may be used to improve your situation.
- New footwear. Shoes that do not fit, are of poor quality, or simply are inappropriate for your chosen activity may aggravate or even cause heel pain. Switching to appropriate shoes may significantly improve or even alleviate your pain.
- Orthotics. If you have an abnormality in your foot structure, a better pair of shoes might not be enough. Instead, we can fit you for an appropriate pair of orthotics, either prefabricated or custom fabricated, that will provide additional cushioning and support for your heels.
- Laser therapy. If your heel pain isn’t responding to more traditional treatments—or you just want a safe, effective way to accelerate your recovery—laser therapy is an excellent option. This advanced tool uses light energy at appropriate wavelengths to reduce pain and stimulate your body’s natural tissue repair processes.
- Extracorporeal pulse activation treatment (EPAT). This is an alternative advanced option that produces similar biological healing effects as laser therapy. It works by using sonic pressure waves to increase blood flow and accelerate healing.
Contact Us in Surprise, AZ for Effective Heel Pain Treatment
If you believe you may have any of the above heel pain conditions, or simply have persistent, painful heel pain symptoms that do not improve or keep coming back, it’s time to see us for a proper evaluation.
You can count on the team at Fixing Feet Institute to get you back on your feet again, as quickly and simply as possible. Call today at (623) 584-5556 to make an appointment, or use our contact form to request one.