Of all the foot and ankle conditions we treat here at our office, heel pain is certainly one of the most common. And this should really come as no surprise. Why?
Well, simply put, our heels are the first part of the feet to come into contact with the ground with each and every step we take. Considering the tremendous amount of force our heels endure on a daily basis – and these forces can total up to several tons just on an average day – there is really no wonder as to why this type of discomfort is such a common problem.
Heel pain, however, is often caused by an underlying foot condition. And the truth is there are many potential conditions that can cause our heels to hurt. So finding the root cause of your discomfort is important in order to successfully address the problem and find the relief you need.
But the good news is there are many conservative treatment options available to address conditions that cause heel pain. Even better, we offer some of the best right here at our office!
If you or someone you love is dealing with this frustrating problem, come visit our Wheeling office today. Dr. Anthony Spitz will perform a thorough evaluation of your feet and ankles in order to determine what exactly is causing your discomfort and how to get you back on your feet – without pain.
Heel Pain – A Common Problem with Many Causes
Here are some of the most common culprits for heel pain:
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause for heel and arch pain. This condition often develops due to overuse of the plantar fascia – the band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. Repeated stress or trauma over time can cause wear and tear of the plantar fascia, keeping it from expanding and contracting properly.
Pain is often felt under the heel after long periods of inactivity when the tissue tightens and contracts. Once pressure is placed on the foot again (like when you rise out of bed in the morning or stand after a long period of sitting), the tissue has difficulty absorbing the impact. As a result, the plantar fascia will pull against the heel bone, causing the familiar stabbing pain under the heel.
Though this painful sensation will usually subside as you continue to walk for a bit, you can expect it to return once you are inactive again for a while. And, when left untreated, plantar fasciitis will likely get worse over time, and may even become a chronic problem.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing pain behind your heel, then Achilles tendinitis is most likely the culprit for your discomfort.
The Achilles tendon – the strongest tendon in your body – connects your heel bone to your calf muscles. And just like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis is also caused by overuse. Repetitive strain can cause the tendon to fray and tear, resulting in pain and inflammation along the back of the heel.
With this condition, pain is usually felt when performing physical activities and often dissipates with some rest. However, if the Achilles tendon is completely torn, surgery may be required to completely heal the injury. (If that’s the case for you, you can take comfort in knowing that Dr. Anthony Spitz is well equipped and trained to provide you with a safe and successful procedure.)
Other Sources of Heel Pain
Though plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis are the two most common source of heel pain in our patients, the list of possible causes can be quite extensive. Some other factors could contribute to your pain and discomfort include:
- Biomechanical deformities
- Physical trauma
- Ill-fitting footwear
- Weight gain
- Stress fractures
… and much more.
Heel Pain Treatment Options
Fortunately, most conditions responsible for heel pain can be easily treated and corrected with a variety of conservative methods or minimally invasive surgical procedures. These include options like:
- Physical Therapy. A proper stretching regimen–combined with RICE therapy–will go a long way towards resolving the issues responsible for your heel pain. When the connective tissues in the heel are kept limber, it also reduces your risk for a recurrent problem.
- Orthotics. The custom orthotics Dr. Spitz prescribes correct the position of your feet so they move in a more natural manner. Adjusting the biomechanics (basically, “how your body parts move”) in your feet can relieve additional strain and physical stress from specific connective tissues. This may be an outstanding option for both treating and preventing heel pain.
- Homeopathic Injections. When soft tissue inflammation is responsible for heel pain–as is often the case–Dr. Spitz may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation and provide the relief you are seeking.
- HyProCure. While a pair of custom orthotics can adjust foot position externally, a more permanent solution is HyProCure. In this treatment, Dr. Spitz uses a minimally invasive procedure to insert a sterile titanium stent into a naturally occurring space between certain foot bones. This stent corrects positioning and encourages better motion. The procedure and device are completely safe (FDA-approved) and we have been able to help many patients with this advanced heel pain treatment option.
- Heel Spur Surgery.
Heel pain is a frustrating condition, but you can see there is absolutely hope for you. Your custom treatment plan may incorporate any of the above elements–all with the ultimate goal of putting your pain in the past.
Find the Relief You Need Today!
The bottom line is you don’t have to keep living with heel pain! So don’t wait until this problem becomes a major hassle in your life – come visit our office for the relief you need today. Give us a call at (847) 465-9311, or fill out our online request form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.