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Heel Pain Problem and Treatment
Our feet put up with a lot. After all, we ask them to carry the load of our entire bodies, engage in all sorts of activities including exercise and sports, and we often force them into a variety of ill-fitting shoes! In short, our feet are expected to do a lot. The foot is a complex body part with 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons in each one and the very largest bone in the foot lives at the heel. So it is no wonder that heel pain is an exceptionally common condition. The bad news is it can be incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating. But the good news is that heel pain is treatable and preventable.
Why Does It Hurt?
In general, there are two primary categories of heel pain.
The first is called “Heel Pain Syndrome” and is caused by over-use and/or repetitive stress. A soreness in the heel area resulting from too much impact develops. Typically “Heel Pain Syndrome can be attributed to one of the following factors.
- Shoes with heels that are too low.
- A thinned out fat pad in the heel area.
- A sudden increase in activity.
The second category is considered a biomedical problem caused by over-pronation, commonly referred to as “Flat Feet”. An issue that can cause Plantar Fasciitis which is when the plantar fascia is excessively stretched and inflamed resulting in pain.
NOTE: The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel through the midfoot and into the forefoot.
How to Treat Heel Pain
A variety of tools are available to treat heel pain. Our podiatrists at Laurel Foot & Ankle Center or Northern Virginia Foot & Ankle Associates will recommend ways to absorb shock, provide additional cushioning and change the position of the heel through elevation.
A heel cup, visco heel cradle, or an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and force are just a few of the possibilities they may be recommended. In addition, the right footwear is critical. Shoes with a firm heel counter, arch support, and proper heel height are all options our podiatrists will explore with you.
Too much pressure results in stiffness and pain in the plantar fascia ligament causing what is referred to as Plantar Fasciitis.
Sprains and strains.
Common is the inevitable sprains and strains from a fall or physical activity. These can be minor or severe.
A broken bone is a medical emergency.
The tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel becomes inflamed…typically due to overuse.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs found about your joints. They surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones.
When to Call Us.
- Severe Pain
- Sudden Pain
- Redness in your Heel
- Swelling in your Heel
- Difficulty Walking
Our podiatrists will talk with you about your activities and symptoms, then perform a physical exam which may include an X-ray. Once a diagnosis is determined, we will provide you with the proper and effective treatment. Sometimes, in order to help strengthen the muscles and tendons in your foot, we may prescribe physical therapy.
If you are experiencing heel pain, or want to learn more about preventative care or treatments, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a diagnosis and the best in recommended care.
Contact our offices Laurel Foot & Ankle Center or Northern Virginia Foot & Ankle Associates and schedule an appointment today.
To learn more about Heel Pain, go to Heel Pain Institute of America and Laurel Foot & Ankle Center or Northern Virginia Foot & Ankle Associates.
Francis J. Smith, D.P.M., A.B.F.A.S.
Board certified in Foot Surgery and Michael A. Klein, D.P.M. A.B.F.A.S.
Board certified in Foot Surgery