Heel pain often starts as a minor annoyance. Patients think they’ve been standing on their feet too long, or maybe it’s temporary discomfort caused by new shoes. But when it doesn’t go away, and days and weeks turn into months, it’s time to call the clinic.
There are a handful of causes for pain in the bottom of the foot. The foot is a complex structure and there are a number of possible ailments. Among the most common are plantar fasciitis, bunion, heel spur and arthritis.
Plantar fasciitis is a notoriously stubborn condition that involves an inflamed tendon. Others are more treatable but equally irritating. Then there is heel pain that is the result of arthritis or bone spurs, a natural but unwelcome effect of aging.
The pain can be caused by nerve entrapment, which means that muscles, tendons or ligaments are swollen and have shrunk the opening for the nerve. Pressure on the nerve equals pain.
This last condition is usually indicated by a burning or tingling in the heel, or a numb feeling. The pain may radiate down the foot, following the path of the nerve.
Feet take a good deal of stress over the course of a lifetime, and many people at some point are prone to heel pain. While some cases are caused by trauma— an injury or accident— more often it’s chronic and related to lifestyle. Bottom line: This type of pain will usually get worse, and will not resolve itself
What Can Be Done About Heel Pain?
Fortunately, we have a basket full of treatments for heel pain, depending on the source of the problem.
- Radio Frequency (RF) uses electrical current, produced by gentle radio waves, to disrupt nerve signals. While the heat from the current dulls the pain, the therapy is safe and effective. There is no permanent damage to the nerve being treated.
- Plantar fasciitis responds well to exercises that are tailored to stretching the plantar fascia. Some exercises involve toe curls, such as picking up marbles with the toes. Plantar fasciitis also has been successfully treated with PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) injections or corticosteroids. Your doctor can discuss the options available to you.
- Lifestyle factors may also cause of heel pain. We advise athletes to take time off any activity that is stressing the feet and switch to a low-impact sport such as swimming. For some patients, weight loss would help. There are cushioned pads, insoles and special footwear for patients whose work requires them to be on their feet for long periods of time.
Don’t Wait Until Heel Pain Sidelines You
While you may feel virtuous in ignoring heel pain and hoping it will go away, that’s not likely to happen. The longer a patient suffers from heel or foot pain, the more difficult it is to resolve. Our clinics in Sunnyvale, DeSoto and Dallas have the tools and knowledge to diagnose and treat heel pain.
The doctor may need some information from you to make her diagnosis:
- How long has the problem persisted?
- Was there an incident that triggered the heel pain?
- Have you been diagnosed with arthritis?
- Are you a runner or serious athlete?
- Has the pain gotten steadily worse? Does it come and go?
- Is the pain worse in the morning?
Each person’s situation is unique, and treatment is tailored to their condition and their lifestyle. The take-home message is, You don’t have to suffer from a painful heel. Whether it’s caused by a bone spur, inflamed tendon, arthritis or a bunion, there is a treatment designed to relieve the discomfort and give you back your ‘happy feet’.