What causes heel pain?
Most heel pain and discomfort is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of connective tissue that travels across the bottom of the foot, from the area just behind the toes all the way to the heel. This condition is called plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, pain can occur as a result of injury to the plantar fascia, but more commonly, it occurs as a result of the natural aging process, heel spurs, arthritis, obesity, gout or other local or systemic issues.
Sometimes, foot positioning when walking can also contribute to plantar fascia pain. Pain tends to be more prevalent first thing in the morning, or after a prolonged period of sitting or lying down.
How is heel pain treated?
Like many chronic conditions, heel pain is first managed conservatively, typically with orthotic inserts or devices to help gently stretch the foot, combined with oral medications and cortisone injections as needed. If obesity is a contributing factor, weight loss is also recommended. Dr. Glass can help you change your gait or stride when a gait irregularity is causing excessive strain on the bottom of your foot.
When these conservative approaches fail to achieve meaningful relief, surgery may be required to release a portion of the plantar fascia, so inflammation is relieved, or to remove bone spurs when they’re determined to be a contributing cause.
What can I do to prevent heel pain?
There are several steps you can take to avoid heel pain, including:
- Do exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon at the back of your heel to prevent tightening that can strain the plantar fascia.
- Wear shoes with adequate arch support.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Use a cushioning mat when required to stand for prolonged periods of time.
- Avoid slippers or going barefoot.
How Can We Help You Today?
There’s no reason to keep suffering from heel pain. The earlier you seek help, the more likely that conservative treatments will get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle. Let us know how we can help you by scheduling your appointment today.