• What is?
  • Causes
  • Treatment

What Is Heel Pain?

Heel pain is an extremely common condition and unfortunately at some point most people will experience heel pain in their life. Heel pain can range from a dull aching pain to a sharp shooting pain. The pain can be intermittent or constant especially after ambulating or standing on your feet for an extended amount of time. There are several common causes of heel pain and it is important to evaluate and accurately diagnosis the cause of your symptoms associated with your heel pain here at Atlantic Foot and Ankle so an appropriate treatment plan can be directed at the cause.


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Causes

There are several conditions that cause heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause. This is burning or aching pain caused from irritation and inflammation to the plantar fascia usually in the arch of the foot. Heel spurs are also a common culprit of heel pain. They are usually associated with plantar fasciitis as it continues for a long time, a heel spur or calcium deposit which may form where the plantar fascia tissue band connects to your heel bone itself. Pain can also be associated with trauma to the fat pad of the heel after stepping on something which can lead to bruising of the heel bone itself. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can also been associated with heel pain. This pain is caused from a large nerve entrapment in the back of the foot this is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand. Stress fractures can also cause heel pain. These however are usually associated with trauma and in athletes who participate in long distance running and contact sports. There is also posterior heel pain. Posterior heel pain causes symptoms behind the foot, rather than underneath. Posterior heel pain is caused from Achilles tendonitis and a retrocalcaneal bursitis.

Treatment

There are many ways to treat heel pain.

Modification of activity: Modification of activity that causes painful symptoms is first and foremost in any treatment plan.

Icing: Icing the affected area also my help alleviate pain by reducing inflammation thus reducing pain.

Exercising and stretching: Exercising and stretching may also be a useful tool to help reduce heel pain. These exercises help relax the tissue around the heel and may even help reoccurrence of heel pain associated with planar fasciitis.

Anti-inflammatory: Anti-inflammatory medications such an NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen) help reduce pain and inflammation.

Injection therapy: Injection therapy with a steroid and local anesthesia also has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation associated with various types of heel pain.

Custom Orthotic Devices: In some cases custom molded orthotics and heel lifts can also be used to help support the foot structure and function preventing deforming forces from re-injury and re-aggravating heel conditions leading up to painful symptoms.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy: non-invasive, safe, effective in office treatment read more

In some cases when conservative treatment fails surgery may be needed to alleviate symptoms associated with heel pain.

If you have heel pain make an appointment with your local specialists here at Atlantic Foot and Ankle where one of our physicians will be happy to evaluate discuss treatment options with you. Please visit any of our five locations, Savannah, Hinesville, Statesboro, Claxton, or Bluffton and speak with our podiatrists to create a treatment plan perfectly suited to you and your needs.

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