Heel Pain

Heel pain can manifest in a few ways.  Plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of the heel; achilles tendonitis is pain at the back of the heel.  Typically, both conditions elicit some type of heel pain and both can usually be effectively treated with conservative care.

Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis (or heel pain) is commonly traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot.


Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the connective tissue that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Also called “heel spur syndrome,” because sometimes a small bone spur develops at the painful location.  The condition can usually be successfully treated with conservative measures such as use of oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications and ice packs, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, and physical therapy.


Causes
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to the faulty biomechanical structure of the foot. For example, people who have problems with their arches, either overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when one’s job requires long hours on the feet. Obesity may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.


Symptoms
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis are typically pain on the bottom of the heel, pain that is usually worse upon arising, and pain that increases over a period of months.


Treatment
Most often, conservative forms of treatment may be all that is required to help get rid of your plantar fasciitis. Most patients with plantar fasciitis notice relief after a few weeks of conservative care.  Conservative therapy consists of oral and topical anti-inflammatory medications, ice, physical therapy, and the use of orthotics.  In most cases, these simple measures combined with wearing comfortable , supportive shoes helps to get rid of  heel pain.   Doctors may also prescribe a night splint to help stretch the plantar fascia ligament. When the pain becomes debilitating, the doctor may decide to administer a series of injections (corticosteroid). 


If all conservative options have been exhausted and there is still heel pain present, surgical interventions may be warranted.

Conservative Care

1- Ice your heel with either a frozen water bottle or ice pack three times a day for 20 minutes each time.  


2- STRETCH!  


3- Use an anti-inflammatory as directed. 


4- Use a supportive orthotics in a stable soled athletic shoe