Posts for tag: Heel Pain
Find out how to treat heel pain yourself and when to see a podiatrist.
Whether you are an avid runner or just someone who likes going to the gym occasionally, it can be challenging to do these everyday activities when faced with heel pain. Did you take that run just a little too far yesterday? Did you suddenly intensify your exercise regime? Then your heels might be screaming out for sweet relief. Here’s how to tackle heel pain before seeing a podiatrist.
What causes heel pain?
Plantar fasciitis is typically the cause of most heel pain. While the name might seem a bit intimidating, don’t worry! Symptoms can often be managed through simple at-home remedies such as,
- Performing specific foot stretches and exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve function.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication to soothe pain and inflammation temporarily.
- Avoid high-impact activities, which will often only exacerbate the condition and lead to further inflammation.
- Splint the foot or wear shoe inserts (orthotics) to provide arch support.
- Consider corticosteroid injections and extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which may also be helpful for those dealing with more severe or stubborn pain.
When should I call my podiatrist?
While you may not want to immediately rush to call your podiatrist at the first bout of pain, you mustn’t ignore a potentially serious issue. You should turn to a podiatrist if,
- You have severe heel pain or swelling
- You can’t point your foot downward or stand up on your tiptoes
- You also notice numbness or a tingling sensation in the heel accompanied by pain
- You experience sudden pain that occurs right after an injury
- You have diabetes or have neuropathy in your feet
- You have been trying at-home treatment options for a week, and there are no changes to your symptoms
If rest and home care haven’t been enough to manage your heel pain, it’s time to turn to a foot and ankle specialist who can help.
Heel pain is one of the most common conditions we treat here at Arizona Foot and Ankle Specialists. Heel pain can result from many different causes. These may include local inflammation to the plantar fascia; a long thick ligament to the bottom of your foot, lower back problems, or some rheumatologic problems. But most common causes of plantar heel pain are plantar fasciitis, atrophy to the plantar fat pad (cushion), calcaneal stress fracture, or entrapment of the nerves around the heel area.
Sudden increase in activity
Most commonly if plantar fasciitis is the main component of heel pain, pain exacerbates with activity after a period of rest. This phenomenon is referred to as post kinetic dyskinesia. If you are experiencing sharp pain to the bottom aspect of heel, with activity after a period of rest, you may have a component of plantar fasciitis. Similar symptoms maybe experienced due to other problems such as fat pad atrophy, tarsal tunnel syndrome, lower back radiculopathy, or some systemic cause. It is very important that a thorough and proper evaluation is performed in order to identify the main root of symptoms and then develop an appropriate and personalized treatment plan.
Through physical exam, with proper history, is required for a proper diagnosis. At Arizona Foot and Ankle Specialists, we perform a detailed examination and may order laboratory work or advanced imaging to properly diagnose heel pain.
Part of your visit for heel pain will involve taking x rays in our office. On x rays there may or may not be a bone spur to the bottom aspect of the heel bone. Bone spurs are usually NOT the cause of heel pain. Instead, bone spurs result as response to increased tension to the bone (in this case heel). Presence of bone spurs usually means chronic tension from the plantar fascia.
Once the cause of your heel pain is identified, we design a personalized treatment plan. Every patient and every heel pain are different. Therefore, we design a personalized treatment plan for every patient. What worked for one patient in resolving their heel pain, does not mean will work for another patient. There are multiple ways to treat heel pain. Some of the treatment options available at Arizona Foot and Ankle Specialists include:
Personalized stretching program
Orthotic management (prefabricated-medical grade, and custom options are available)
Shoe gear change and recommendation
EPAT (shockwave therapy)
We offer Both traditional open vs. Minimally invasive surgical options. Surgical procedure is determined based on the severity of the problem.
Heel pain is one of the most common conditions seen at Arizona foot and ankle specialists. Plantar fasciitis is not always the cause of heel pain and that’s why it is very important that the etiology of heel pain is identified and only then a personalized treatment plan can be created. At Arizona foot and ankle specialists, we provide individual care and personalized treatment plans for every patient.
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2. Al-Boloushi Z, Gómez-Trullén EM, Bellosta-López P, López-Royo MP, Fernández D, Herrero P. Comparing two dry needling interventions for plantar heel pain: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial. J Orthop Surg Res. 2019 Jan 25;14(1):31.
3.Orhurhu V, Urits I, Orman S, Viswanath O, Abd-Elsayed A. A Systematic Review of Radiofrequency Treatment of the Ankle for the Management of Chronic Foot and Ankle Pain. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2019 Jan 19;23(1):4.
4.Moroni S, Zwierzina M, Starke V, Moriggl B, Montesi F, Konschake M. Clinical-anatomic mapping of the tarsal tunnel with regard to Baxter's neuropathy in recalcitrant heel pain syndrome: part I. Surg Radiol Anat. 2019 Jan;41(1):29-41.
5.Kim TH, Lee JK, Sung HK, Kim BH, Song YS, Sung IH. Radiologic features in symptomatic/asymptomatic heels of patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Int J Rheum Dis. 2019 Feb;22(2):222-227.
You are dealing with persistent heel pain
Heel pain is a common complaint and most often the result of an overuse injury such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. The good news is that heel pain will usually go away on its own with rest and home care; however, if the heel pain is severe or persists for weeks without getting better than it’s time to see a podiatrist and find out what’s going on.
You’re dealing with a sprained or fractured foot
If you are dealing with a new foot and ankle injury that you’ve never experienced before, then it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist who will be able to examine it to determine the extent and severity of the sprain or break. Since untreated or improperly treated injuries can lead to long-term foot and ankle pain and instability, it’s a good idea to get proper podiatry care when you sustain an injury.
You have been diagnosed with diabetes
People with diabetes know that they are also at an increased risk for other foot-related complications including neuropathy, ulcers, and infections. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes it’s a good idea to have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular care, especially when problems arise. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you should still see your podiatrist once a year for a routine checkup.
You’re dealing with regular joint pain and stiffness
While there are many reasons why someone may deal with a bout of joint pain, if this is a persistent problem, you may be dealing with arthritis. Since arthritis is progressive, it’s important to diagnose this problem early when medications and treatments can help to slow the progression of joint damage.
If you are experiencing a foot or ankle injury or experiencing symptoms that have you concerned, it’s best to consult foot care professionals for comprehensive podiatry care.
Heel pain is a common foot problem that podiatrists often treat. Knowing the cause of your pain is important in determining the most effective treatment method. Even if the pain seems minor, it’s amazing how much it can affect your whole body, making it difficult to get out of bed let alone go on your regular run. If you are struggling with heel pain you might be dealing with a condition known as plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The source of your pain may originate in the plantar fascia, a tough band of connective tissue that connects your toes to your feet. If the fascia becomes inflamed, you may feel pain in your heel. Of course, everything from wearing high heels to long runs can actually irritate and cause inflammation within the plantar fascia. When this happens this is known as plantar fasciitis. This condition is usually the result of overuse and repeated stress rather than an injury.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that originates at the bottom of the heel below the heel bone. The pain may spread to the arches of the feet and may also be accompanied by stiffness. These symptoms are often exacerbated first thing in the morning or after long bouts of sitting or standing. Sometimes, light activity and exercise can momentarily lessen the pain.
How is plantar fasciitis treated?
If you know that you have plantar fasciitis (perhaps you’ve had it before) then you know it’s important to rest, avoid physical activity, and take over-the-counter pain relievers. Of course, if you’ve never experienced heel pain before it’s important to see a podiatrist to find out whether it’s plantar fasciitis or another condition such as heel spurs or Achilles tendonitis. A thorough evaluation from a medical professional is often necessary, especially if this is the first time dealing with heel pain.
Your podiatrist can also show you stretching and strengthening exercises that you can perform to help stretch the plantar fascia to reduce pain and discomfort. Some patients also choose to wear a night splint to reduce morning stiffness and arch pain.
If your symptoms aren’t being alleviated through conservative treatment methods or if you are experiencing chronic heel pain your podiatrist may recommend surgery.
If you are dealing with stubborn and painful heels turn to a podiatrist for a consultation.
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