Heel pain is one of the most commonly experienced foot and ankle conditions out there. Unfortunately, even for as often as we diagnose and treat it in our office, there are still many, many more people out there who haven’t taken the step to deal with this daily discomfort.
Whether your heel pain is worst as soon as you hop out of bed in the morning, or tends to flare up after a jog or a long day standing at work, the vast majority of cases can be addressed in ways that provide significant or complete relief.
It just doesn’t always feel that way.
When you are experiencing a pain every day—especially as part of your daily work day or routine—it is easy to fall into thinking that there’s simply nothing you can do about it. Perhaps you have even tried to deal with it in one or two ways, only for those methods to not be effective.
The truth, however, is that almost nobody has to live with heel pain running unchecked in their lives. The key in finding an effective treatment plan lies in determining the source of the pain.
Heel Pain & Its (Many) Causes
When we say “heel pain,” it can come across as a deceptively simple problem. Your heel hurts. End of story, right?
But pain in the heel area can stem from a variety of different sources affecting a number of different parts. Our feet are complex organic machines with many moving parts—and many of them lie in or around the heel!
Common causes of heel pain include:
- Plantar Fasciitis – One of the most frequent diagnoses, plantar fasciitis is an injury to and inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs along the underside of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes (the plantar fascia).
- Achilles Tendinitis – Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs from the calf muscle to the back of the heel bone, can cause pain in or just above the heel. The location of the pain is dependent upon where along the tendon damage has taken place.
- Stress Fractures – When repetitive stress is applied to a bone without providing substantial rest time for recovery, it can gradually weaken and develop painful cracks along its surface. This can happen to the heel bone, especially in some runners.
- Sever’s Disease – Common in active children between the ages of 8 and 14, Sever’s disease is not a “disease” in terms of germs, but rather strain of a sensitive growth plate in a developing heel bone.
There are other potential causes of heel pain, including arthritis, sprains, and bone disorders.
Identifying the condition that is causing the pain is not always enough, either. We also must get to the source of what is causing that condition.
Take plantar fasciitis, for example (#1 suspect for morning heel pain). Strain to the plantar fascia can be caused by pushing yourself too hard in running or other sports. It might also be caused by having to stand or stoop all day at a job. It might also be caused by an abnormality in your foot structure that is shifting excess weight to the plantar fascia.
By determining the root cause and addressing that problem, we can effectively treat the condition itself.
Potential Treatments for Heel Pain
After a thorough physical evaluation (and often some questions including how your heel pain affects your daily life, when it hurts you the most, and more), we can recommend a treatment plan with the intent of greatly reducing or fully eliminating your heel pain.
Depending on the root cause (or causes), we may recommend one or more of the following:
- Rest and reduction of activity, allowing an injury time to recover.
- Stretches and exercises designed to reduce pain and/or better condition muscles and connective tissues against further strain or damage.
- The use of Multiwave Locked System (MLS) laser therapy to accelerate the body’s natural capabilities for pain relief and soft tissue recovery.
- Pain-relieving or anti-inflammatory medications, which in some cases may include steroid injections.
- Custom orthotics to redistribute excess weight and pressure away from a vulnerable area.
We may also recommend additional forms of treatment, depending upon the situation. The goal is always to work out a plan that best fits the needs and lifestyle of each patient.
Get Help for Your Heel Pain
If you have been suffering from consistent heel pain, don’t wait any longer to start finding the relief you need!
Schedule an appointment with our Dearborn office by calling (313) 582-6222. If you prefer to contact us electronically, our online contact form is always open. Simply submit your questions and requests, and a member of our office will reach out to you during office hours.
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7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
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