Heel Pain

 
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Whether it comes in the form of morning pain that makes you dread getting out of bed, or an aching, hobbling pain that comes following a run or other workout, heel pain is not something you should just let slide.

Unfortunately, many people don’t follow the signs and come in for the help they need. Even worse, they might have tried one or two potential remedies at home, only to not have them work. Now they think nothing will.

The truth, however, is much brighter. There is a great deal that can be done to help patients with heel pain find comfort or the erasure of their condition altogether. It just takes getting to the source of a problem that can be more complex than you might initially think.

Heel Pain Can Have Many Causes

Heel pain can be a deceptive symptom. It sounds rather simple, but it can stem from a multitude of sources and causes. This is why some methods of treatment might not have the desired effects for some people—they just don’t address the root causes they need to!

A number of potential diagnoses exist for heel pain. A few of the more common include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis. This is the most common source of heel pain in adults, and centers in a thick band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that runs along the underside of the foot. When subjected to excessive stresses or force, the plantar fascia can develop small tears and become inflamed. Sharp heel pain in the morning is a typical symptom of this condition.
  • Achilles Tendinitis. The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is very strong, but can also become inflamed if brought under too much stress and tearing. While pain can happen farther up the calf, it can also be experienced more toward the back of the heel—a condition often referred to as “insertional Achilles tendinitis”.
  • Sever’s Disease. Heel pain is not only a problem for adults, but often for children too. In particular, Sever’s disease can affect active children from the ages of 8-14 whose heel bones are in the process of growth. This condition can occur when the heel bone matures faster than the Achilles tendon, leading to tightness and stress against the bone. This pain tends to grow worse with activity.

There are further potential causes of heel pain, and there can be underlying factors that influence each of them. Some of them can be physical in nature, such as overuse (running or playing too hard or too long when your body is not fully prepared to take it). Others may be more structural in nature, such as having an abnormal foot shape or muscle tightness that places too much stress on certain areas. Sometimes it’s a mixture of these and more!

But until we get to the root of the problem, we can’t recommend the best courses of treatment.

Treatments for Heel Pain

Heel Pain

The goal of heel pain treatment is to reduce discomfort and, ideally, eliminate it altogether.

In many cases, conservative treatments can have a big effect on certain conditions. These may include:

  • Rest, during which we may help you build a good temporary workout plan that places little or no stress on your feet.
  • Stretches and exercises that can condition muscles and tissues against strain.
  • Changes in lifestyle, work environment, and footwear that can have cumulative positive effects.

Advanced Treatments for Heel Pain

In cases when more in-depth treatment is needed, our office provides several advanced and hi-tech options.

  • Custom Orthotics are specifically made to provide cushioning and corrective support to patients for whom structural issues and faulty biomechanics are a problem.
  • HyProCure is a more permanent solution to certain structural issues. This minor surgical procedure places a medical grade stent into a cavity of the foot via a small incision, providing internal support and lasting relief.
  • Multiwave Locked System (MLS) Laser Therapy uses specific wavelengths of light energy to stimulate damaged soft tissues, kickstarting the repair process to potentially accelerate recovery and relieve pain.
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) also stimulates damaged cells, using pressure waves instead of light to aggravate the area of an injury and increase blood flow to the area.

Reconstructive surgery might also be an option, but is only considered when other options have failed to provide necessary results or have otherwise been ruled out.

The specific course of treatment we recommend will depend upon our diagnosis, your lifestyle, your age, and many other factors. No two patients are exactly the same, and we are committed to providing the best personalized care to meet each patient’s needs.

Take the First Steps Toward Heel Pain Relief!

Heel pain rarely goes away on its own. If you have been suffering from aching heels consistently, simply holding off on it will only risk matters becoming worse!

Call us at (814) 472-2660 to schedule an appointment at our offices in Ebensburg or Johnstown. We will be more than happy to see you.

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