Help My Heel Hurts! What Can I Do?

The most common complaint heard by a Podiatrist is, “Doctor, my heel hurts.”  While this is a commonplace, it has a wide range of possible causes. Heel pain could possibly be due to rheumatoid arthritis, stress fractures, tarsal tunnel syndrome, nerve entrapment, a bone contusion, and more.  Today’s focus however, will be on the most common cause of heel pain, Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is the “inflammation” of the thick fibrous cord on the bottom of the foot known as the Plantar Fascia.  This usually occurs after the fascia has been irritated in some fashion, which later leads to inflammation.  

How did I get Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis has multiple causes but the most common cause is an over use syndrome much like a baseball pitcher who throws the incorrectly develops tendinitis. Plantar fasciitis can be related to structural foot deformities, tight calf muscles, obesity, poor arch support, poor shock absorption and inappropriate shoe gear to name a few causes. 

What are the signs and symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis often presents with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain on the bottom of the heel

  • Pain in the arch of the foot

  • Pain worse after the first step in the morning

  • Pain that develops over months

 

What is the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis?

Treatment options will vary depending on how long symptoms have been present and what treatment options have been attempted in the past.  Often treatment will begin in a conservative fashion involving stretching, taping, oral anti-inflammatories, orthotics, cortisone injections, night splints, etc.  If symptoms persist for longer than 6 months following conservative treatment, then you and your doctor may consider surgical or biologic injection options. Care can be taken to help prevent plantar fasciitis by avoiding barefoot walking, wearing shoes with good support, and stretching the calves and plantar fascia.

Conclusion

Heel Pain can be debilitating and can severely affect your daily activities.  You do not need to suffer needlessly.  If you are suffering from heel pain, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. 

 

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