On average, heel pain is one of the most common problems that will bring in new patients to my office. Heel pain is generally caused by too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. This may be due to an injury related to walking, running, jumping on a hard surface, improper/unsupportive foot wear, especially flat shoes or sandals, and weight gain. Typically, the pain occurs on the bottom of the heel and most often occurs with the first step in the morning or after prolonged sitting.
Common causes of heel pain:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Bone spur
- Excessive pronation or flat foot
- Achilles tightness
- Nerve irritation/nerve entrapment
- Less likely: bone cyst
Diagnosis can be made based on a thorough history, review of symptoms and physical examination. X-rays may also be taken to rule out any bone abnormalities.
Common treatment methods (usually a combination of the following):
- Oral anti-inflammatories
- Steroid injections
- Strapping and taping
- Shoe recommendations
- Shoe inserts
- Custom made/Functional orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Weight loss
- Night splints: posterior and anterior
Heel pain is usually successfully treated by a combination of the above-mentioned treatments, however, a few cases may require surgical intervention if the conservative treatments fail. One newer surgical technique to treat plantar fasciitis is a procedure where amniontic stem cells injected under ultrasound guidance. Other surgical treatment options include release of the plantar fascia, removal of bone spur or removal of bursa.
If you are experiencing persistent heel pain and it has started to impact your daily life, you should have it evaluated by a podiatrist. Please call our office at 856-678-6678 to schedule an appointment and determine the best treatment course for you.