Heel Pain Non-Surgical Treatments
Heel pain is a common problem that is often caused by shoes that do not fit properly, or footwear that does not provide the proper support due to weight gain or hard surfaces. Rarely related to serious foot conditions, heel pain can still significantly affect your life. You may struggle to exercise, and find yourself leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of heel pain can allow you to once again live a healthy, active life.
Learn about different foot conditions and foot pain diagnosis by expanding the menu on the right.
Heel pain can affect either the back or bottom of the heel, and may be associated with a number of different foot conditions, including:
Achilles tendonitis can be associated with pain in the back of your heel.
The foot has more than 30 different joints. This leaves it particularly susceptible to arthritis, which is commonly linked to heel pain.
When the bursae, or small cushions that protect the joints, become irritated, the resulting inflammation, or bursitis, can create heel pain.
Gout is linked to the buildup of uric acid in the small bones of the feet and can lead to the onset of arthritis.
Plantar fasciitis, or the inflammation of the plantar fascia, can lead to heel spurs. Heel spurs are painful calcium deposits on the bottom of the foot that can develop if plantar fasciitis is not properly identified and treated.
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can lead to significant foot and heel pain. Those with diabetes may be particularly susceptible to neuropathy. A family history of the condition can also increase your risk.
The most common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is often caused by the arch of the foot becoming inflamed and irritated. It is commonly related to long periods of walking or standing. Untreated plantar fasciitis can trigger the development of heel spurs.
Although not a common cause of heel pain for most people, stress fractures often occur in athletes or runners. Sprains and strains may also increase the risk of developing heel pain.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
This condition is caused by the large nerve in the back of the foot becoming pinched or inflamed.
Heel pain that interferes with your daily activities or persists should be carefully evaluated by our experienced podiatrists, particularly if you are unable to walk comfortably, struggle to put weight on that foot, have pain in feet that occurs at night, or if the pain lasts more than a few days. Signs of infection or injury, including swelling, discoloration, fever, inflammation, or heat, should also be evaluated by a foot doctor as soon as possible. Treatment for your foot pain will vary based on the cause of your pain.
Diagnostic Foot Specialists may recommend:
• Customized inserts, which can better support your feet throughout the day
• Exercises, which can gently stretch the muscles and ligaments in your feet and reduce the risk of relapse
• Ice packs, which can reduce pain and inflammation particularly after an injury or as a result of increased symptoms
• Medications, which can help reduce pain and swelling
Our doctor may recommend over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or we may recommend prescription drugs for more serious pain.
• Rest, which can give your feet time to heal and provide relief from pain, swelling or inflammation
Any amount of pain in the feet can indicate the presence of injury or disease. An accurate diagnosis of your pain can help our doctors make the best treatment recommendations to help you fully recover and get back to your favorite activities. If you are suffering from pain, discomfort, or any decrease of function in one or both feet, we can help. Contact our Houston heel pain doctor today to schedule your consultation.
How Is Foot Pain Diagnosed?
Feet work hard to support weight and maintain balance. They also act as shock absorbers and are responsible for directing leg movements. Given that most of us take at least 8,000 steps per day, it is not surprising that 75 percent of Americans experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Although minor foot pain can usually be treated at home with ice and elevation, serious foot or heel pain should be evaluated and treated by a foot doctor.
Are There Different Types Of Foot Pain?
Most foot or heel pain is experienced during activity. However, foot pain can occur before and after activity without affecting performance. In severe situations, foot pain can limit or prevent activity altogether.
What Are Some Common Foot Pain Symptoms?
The foot may feel tender when touched or more painful when moved. It may show signs of swelling, bruising, inflammation, or there may be discolored toenails, weakness, or numbness. The foot may become stiff, feel hot, or change color. There may be an accompanying fever and changes in the way you walk. In serious cases, there can be a total loss of function.
What Causes Foot Pain?
Foot pain can be caused by anything from tight shoes or poor posture to bone spurs or broken toes. Because it can be caused by so many things, it should be evaluated and treated by a podiatrist. Here are some other causes of foot pain:
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Flat Feet
- Corns or Calluses
- Ingrown Toe Nails
- Heel Spurs
- Plantar Warts
- Hammer Toe or Mallet Toe
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Peripheral Neuropathy
How Do I Know When It Is Time To See A Podiatrist?
If the pain is severe, it limits your daily activities or makes your life unmanageable, it is time to see a foot doctor. See a podiatrist immediately if you cannot put weight on your foot, if your foot is changing shape, or if your foot feels numb.
What Is Involved In Foot Pain Diagnosis?
After getting your medical history, the podiatrist will ask about your activities. X-rays or imaging tests may be ordered if the cause of your foot pain is initially unclear. Because foot pain can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, your doctor may also test for things like diabetes, gout, or arthritis.
Be sure to tell your doctor everything you know about your foot pain, including:
- How and when the pain began
- The severity of the pain
- How the pain affects your life
- When the pain is most noticeable
- Whether pain is constant or comes and goes
- If the pain has increased or decreased
Your physician will thoroughly examine both feet visually and physically. They will look for tender spots, deformities, and differences between the feet, as well as examining the muscles, nerves, and bones of the foot and arch. Your podiatrist will measure foot movement and the ability of the foot to bear weight.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Your treatment options will depend on your diagnosis. Treatment may be as simple as wearing better-fitting shoes or stretching the foot muscles. With other conditions, such ingrown toenails, you may require corrective surgery. Depending on the severity of the pain, medication may be prescribed to help you feel better while the condition is being healed.
If you are suffering from foot pain, contact one of our Diagnostic Foot Specialist offices today. With five offices in Houston, and offices in Sugar Land, College Station, and The Woodlands, Texas, we are here to get you back on your feet without pain. Call today!
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common issues relating to the foot, affecting more than one million persons per year. Plantar Fasciitis is a degenerative condition and may be caused by microtears in the Plantar Fascia from repeated trauma or overuse. Classic treatments for Plantar Fasciitis include rest, stretching excercises, orthotics, weight loss, corticosteroid injections, night splints, EPAT Therapy, and platelet-rich plasma injections.
Achilles Tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have sudden intensity increases during their runs. It’s also common in middle aged people who play sports on the weekends. The pain associated with Achilles Tenditis begins as an ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after exercising. You may experience tenderness or stiffness, especially in the morning, which usually improves with mild activity.
EpiFix Injection is a new treatment available for Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinitis. The EpiFix Injectable is a micronized dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane allograft (skin substitute product). When injected, the growth factors will help your own cells regenerate the damaged tissue, reduce scar tissue formation, and control inflammation.
This treatment is different from corticosteoroid injections and platelet-rich plasma injections. Corticosteoroid injections are given after conservative treatments failed. Unfortunately these injections do not help the damaged tissue to regenerate — they simply mask the pain. Patients often reach the limit of steroid injections and their pain remains unresolved. Platelet rich plasma injections are more natural but do not have the growth factors for regenerating tissue.
At Dignostic Foot Specialists we offer many treatments for Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinitis. Schedule your appointment today to see if EpiFix Injectable is the correct treatment for you.