Heel pain or Plantar Fasciitis, is the most common condition seen in my Podiatrist office. There are many types of heel pain. The most common form is pain on the bottom of the heel. The pain is often worse first thing in the morning or after stepping on the foot after a period of rest. The pain can present as sharp, tearing, throbbing, aching, or stabbing. As the condition worsens, the pain may get worse and may radiate along the arch, towards the toes or up the back of the leg.
What are some causes of severe pain in heels?
The pain is typically caused by irritation of the plantar fascia ligaments, also known as Plantar Fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick ligament that attaches at the bottom of the heel and fans out along the ball of the foot, towards the toes. The plantar fascia functions as a shock absorber when the foot hits the ground. If the plantar fascia is overworked then it can become inflamed, irritated, and small tears may occur. A heel spur may also develop.
Causes of severe heel pain in heels include a recent increase in physical activity, weight gain, or overuse. Flattened arches can cause over pronation, which will strain and weaken the plantar fascia. Tight leg and foot muscles can also contribute to heel pain. Improper shoe wear, particularly high heels in women or poorly supportive shoes in men are also a factor.
How does a Podiatrist diagnose heel pain?
Heel pain is diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Weight bearing x-rays are useful in determining if a bone spur or fracture is present. If you are experiencing heel pain, it is vital to seek care. Many people try to ignore the early signs of heel pain and keep on doing the activities that caused it. This will only make the problem worse and may lead to a chronic condition.
What types of heel treatment are available?
Treatment of heel pain is typically very effective. Heel treatment can consist of stretching, icing, anti inflammatory medications, and gel insoles. If the heel pain persists then cortisone injections and sports taping and strapping may help. A custom molded orthotic can be helpful in treating the heel pain and preventing further flare ups. As a Podiatrist, I can measure and cast you for custom molded orthotics. Be careful purchasing over the counter orthotics, which typically are inferior quality and may worsen the problem. Surgery is only recommended in rare or persistent cases. If you are experiencing chronic heel pain or if your pain is in the early stages, schedule an appointment to get you out of pain and back in the game.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, call (732) 254-5553. Free consultations are available. Dr. King, a foot doctor near me is accepting new patients and participates with most health insurance plans.