Pain beneath the heel bone is an extremely common
and debilitating condition. In our modern society, with its unyielding
artificial floors, occupations demanding long hours of standing, and
shoes of ill-design, it's no wonder that heel pain is one of the most
common foot complaints.
There are many causes of heel pain including
trauma, heel spurs, heel tumors, bursitis, gout, arthritis, diabetes and
strain due to standing and walking improperly.
People with heel pain usually complain of a "stone bruise." The most
frequent symptom is that of "pain in the morning with the first few
steps." This is due to inflammation with swelling around the ligament on
the bottom of the heel. This inflammation may be due to any of the
causes mentioned above. The most common cause of this type of heel pain
is faulty foot function, which causes a rubbing or stretching of the
ligaments. This is referred to as “plantar fasciitis” or “heel spur
If you should be bothered by any or all of the symptoms mentioned, the
first step in treatment can be tried at home. Often, relief can be
attained by :
Padding the heel with a soft, foam-rubber material
Wearing supportive shoes with a thick rubber heel
Placing ice against the bottom of the heel to reduce swelling
Stretching the calf muscles
If these measures fail, it is time to consult your
podiatrist. A careful medical history, a complete clinical examination
of your feet, and sometimes x-rays are used to determine the cause and
Treatment of the “heel-spur syndrome” -- or plantar fasciitis is
two-fold. First, the inflammation responsible for the discomfort needs
to be reduced, and secondly, the abnormal motion of the foot needs to be
controlled. Reduction of the inflammation can sometimes be accomplished
simply by reducing the amount of motion. This can be achieved
temporarily with taping or strapping the feet.
If symptoms resolve fairly quickly, then many times no further treatment
is needed unless there is another flare-up. Oral anti-inflammatory
medications often are helpful in reducing this inflammation and
occasionally an injection of local anesthesia and cortisone into the
inflamed area is needed to calm it down.
Controlling the abnormal motion is the key to preventing reoccurrence of
this syndrome, and the most effective means of doing this is with the
use of a custom-fitted orthotic device.
When the condition has existed so long that these methods of treatment
fail to resolve the symptoms, surgical treatment is sometimes necessary
to afford permanent relief. Fortunately on October 12, 2000, the US Food
& Drug Administration granted approval to market the OssaTron, a new
device that uses shock waves to treat chronic heel pain. This is a 15
minute procedure that allows you to immediately walk in your regular
shoes after the procedure and has over a 70% success rate.
Can a podiatrist help your heel pain? We make it easy for you to find
out. Here's how....
The physicians and staff of the A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Centers
maintain two complete podiatric clinical facilities and provide
24-hour emergency service. We participate in most health plans including
Blue Cross / Blue Shield, Medicare, and Medicaid. We complete and file
all necessary insurance forms and make every effort to assure you of
maximum benefits with minimum out-of-pocket expense.
You are invited to make an appointment today to relieve your foot
problems by calling us at 970-493-4660 or 970-667-0769.