Do you suffer from aching, stabbing, or burning pain of the heels?
Does the discomfort keep you from participating in activities you used to enjoy?
Heel pain is a very common symptom in people of all ages. And while the condition causing it is usually not “medically serious,” that isn’t much comfort. It still hurts! And if it keeps you from exercising or enjoying activities, it can gradually cost you your health and mobility.
What Caused Your Heel Pain?
Heel pain can arise from a variety of different factors and diagnoses.
The most common cause for adults is plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the plantar fascia tissue along the arch and underside of the heel becomes overstretched, torn, and inflamed. The “classic” symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the early morning when you get out of bed,
Among children, the most common diagnosis is Sever’s disease. Active kids during their early “growth spurt” years are especially susceptible. At this stage, their bodies are growing quickly, and part of the heel bone is capped by a “growth plate” of softer tissue responsible for forming new bone. Repetitive impacts and pressure can irritate this growth plate, causing pain.
While a majority of cases fall into one of these diagnoses, there are many other possibilities, including Achilles tendinitis, arthritis, stress fractures, pinched nerves, etc.
Contributing factors that can lead to heel pain include:
- Active hobbies (running, sports, etc.)
- Occupations that require a lot of standing
- Poor choices of footwear
- Structural foot problems (for example, flat feet)
- Gait abnormalities
Our Approach Emphasizes Conservative Care
During your initial visit, we will take as much time as necessary to confirm the correct diagnosis before prescribing any treatment. This includes a physical examination, talking with you about your symptoms, and, if necessary, X-rays.
We also usually provide an injection of cortisone to deal with the inflammation right away. The medication begins to work right away, and as inflammation declines you begin to feel relief from symptoms over the next few hours to days.
Then, we’ll talk to you about treatment options over the longer term that you may need to bring about healing and prevent the return of pain. Depending on the cause of your heel pain, this might include options such as:
- Wearing higher quality shoes with better cushioning and support
- Over-the-counter cushioned insoles
- Adjusting your activities to reduce daily pressure on the heels
- Custom orthotics for those with more significant biomechanical concerns
- Temporary use of a walking boot or other immobilization tool
- Stretching and/or physical therapy
Will I Need Surgery?
Many people are worried that they’re going to need surgery for the heel pain, but cases that require it are exceedingly rare. More than 95 percent of the time, we are able to fix the problem non-surgically.
That is more than 19 out of 20 patients, and it includes a lot of people with severe pain that has been chronic for months or even years.
That being said, the longer you wait to get treatment, the fewer effective treatment options you may have. So don’t wait to get help! To schedule your initial appointment, please call the Comprehensive Foot Centerstoday at (816) 455-1155.