Heel pain is a common foot condition. It's usually felt as an intense pain when using the affected heel. Heel Pain
usually builds up
gradually and gets worse over time. The pain is often severe and occurs when you place weight on the heel. In most cases, only one heel is affected, although estimates suggest that around a third of
people have pain in both heels. The pain is usually worse first thing in the morning, or when you first take a step after a period of inactivity. Walking usually improves the pain, but it often gets
worse again after walking or standing for a long time. Some people may limp or develop an abnormal walking style as they try to avoid placing weight on the affected heel.
Heel pain has many causes. Heel pain is generally the result of faulty biomechanics (walking gait abnormalities) that place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it.
The stress may also result from injury, or a bruise incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear (such as flimsy flip-flops); or being
Usually when a patient comes in they?ll explain that they have severe pain in the heel. It?s usually worse during the first step in the morning when they get out of bed. Many people say if they walk
for a period of time, it gets a little bit better. But if they sit down and get back up, the pain will come back and it?s one of those intermittent come and go types of pain. Heel pain patients will
say it feels like a toothache in the heel area or even into the arch area. A lot of times it will get better with rest and then it will just come right back. So it?s one of those nuisance type things
that just never goes away. The following are common signs of heel pain and plantar fasciitis. Pain that is worse first thing in the morning. Pain that develops after heavy activity or exercise. Pain
that occurs when standing up after sitting for a long period of time. Severe, toothache type of pain in the bottom of the heel.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as have you had this type of heel pain before? When did your pain begin? Do you have pain upon
your first steps in the morning or after your first steps after rest? Is the pain dull and aching or sharp and stabbing? Is it worse after exercise? Is it worse when standing? Did you fall or twist
your ankle recently? Are you a runner? If so, how far and how often do you run? Do you walk or stand for long periods of time? What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you have any other symptoms? Your
doctor may order a foot x-ray. You may need to see a physical therapist to learn exercises to stretch and strengthen your foot. Your doctor may recommend a night splint to help stretch your foot.
Surgery may be recommended in some cases.
Non Surgical Treatment
Home care, in cases that are not severe, home care is probably enough to get rid of heel pain. Rest, avoid running or standing for long periods, or walking on hard surfaces. Avoid activities that may
stress the heels. Ice, place an ice-pack on the affected area for about 15 minutes. Do not place bare ice directly onto skin. Footwear. proper-fitting shoes that provide good support are crucial.
Athletes should be particularly fussy about the shoes they use when practicing or competing - sports shoes need to be replaced at specific intervals (ask your trainer). Foot supports, wedges and heel
cups can help relieve symptoms.
When a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is made early, most patients respond to conservative treatment and don?t require surgical intervention. Often, when there is a secondary diagnosis contributing
to your pain, such as an entrapped nerve, and you are non-responsive to conservative care, surgery may be considered. Dr. Talarico will discuss all options and which approach would be the most
beneficial for your condition.
Heel pain is commonly caused from shoes that do not fit properly. In addition, shoes need to have ample cushioning and support, particularly through the heel, ball of the foot, and arch. Shoes should
also be replaced if they become too worn. One sure sign of wear and tear is overly worn areas of a shoe's insoles. If the heel or ball of the foot is particularly worn, damage could easily occur
since the bottom of the foot is not getting the cushioning it needs.