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Heel pain is a very common condition that unfortunately many Americans will suffer from at some time in their lives. Two conditions that result in heel pain are Plantar Fasciitis and Tendonosis.
One common cause of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick ligament located on the bottom of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes. This tendon supports the arch and several muscles and bones under the foot. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when this ligament becomes irritated resulting in stiffness and pain in the heel area. The pain and stiffness is usually at its worst when there is not a lot of blood flowing in the area, most noticeably on your first step off the bed in the morning, or stepping out of a car after a long drive or at the beginning of a walk or jog. Once you have some movement in your feet, more blood will circulate in the area of the plantar fascia and the pain and stiffness will lessen. The irritation that causes the condition of Plantar Fasciitis occurs for many reasons such as long periods of standing, long periods of bed rest, ill-fitting shoes, over use in sports training, weight gain and lack of flexibility.
In most cases. Plantar Fasciitis is a controllable condition and there are treatments to help ease the pain and discomfort. The most common suggestion is to wear better shoes and inner soles that will provide firmer support to the area. When the cause is over exertion from an activity or sport, we recommend that you take an extended break from the sport. Relief can also be accomplished by stretching the calf and arch and by massaging the area and applying ice for ten minutes at a time, two times a day.
f the symptoms persist, additional treatments include custom made orthotics, steroid shots, physical therapy, night splints and cast boots. A new treatment that has proven to be very successful is Orthotripsy or ultra-sonic shockwave therapy. This is a non surgical, non invasive treatment that targets the affected area with shock waves that produces a pain relieving affect at the site and stimulates healing factors such as the formation of new blood vessels and tissue regeneration. Shockwave therapy can be the most effective answer for long term heel pain relief. A very sharp pain at the bottom of one’s foot can be the sign of a ruptured Plantar Fascia and is treated with total immobilization in a boot which can last for a period of 2-6 weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. In the most extreme cases, when all non invasive treatments for Plantar Fasciitis do not succeed, surgery may be recommended.
The Achilles Tendon is a cord that runs from the calf muscle to the heel. The Achilles tendon can become inflamed due to small tears, resulting in heel pain and discomfort. This painful condition is called tendonosis. The symptoms and treatments for Tendonosis are similar to those for Plantar Fasciitis. Pain and stiffening occurs in the heel area and is most noticeable after inactive periods such as when you first get off your bed in the morning or after long drives and at the start of a long walk or jog. If you experience pain or burning or you notice swelling you should stop activities that may be aggravating it. The best way to begin treatment of Tendonosis is to rest the foot, use heel cushions for elevation, stretching the Achilles' tendon and icing the foot. This can be accomplished by filling a bucket with cold water and ice cubes and keeping the in the water and flexed against the inside wall of the bucket. Try to do this ice therapy for ten to fifteen minutes, two times a day. You should get significant relief from and swelling with this regimen of rest and rehabilitation.
Sometimes the Achilles' tendon will develop a calcified spur due to constant stress and torque in the area where it attaches to the bone. This spur can worsen and crack which may lead to a chronic inflammatory condition that can only be corrected by surgery. We can expertly handle any type of Tendonosis that requires surgical treatment using state of the art methods and technology.
Although heel pain is a very common problem, there are many methods that can be used to treat it. We will develop a personalized plan for each case and we will work with you until we find the treatment that works best for you.