Heel Pain

Posted by George Zuk on

Did you ever get up in the morning and have moderate to severe pain in one or both heels or pain after periods of rest?   Sometimes it eases up after a few steps and sometimes it doesn't ease up at all.  This is one symptom of a condition known as heel spur syndrome.

There are many conditions that can produce symptoms in the heel such as plantar fasciitis, bone spur of the heel, apophysitis, nerve entrapment, stress fracture of the heel, or fat pad atrophy to name a few.  Other conditions which can produce pain in the heel are calluses, intractable plantar keratomas, warts and foreign bodies.

Patients who come into my office will mention that the pain is severe when they first get up in the morning and it will ease after a few minutes.  They will put on their shoes and they feel more comfortable but if they sit for any period of time or get up  from sitting on the couch they state the pain is as tense as when they get up in the morning.

Going to your Podiatrist, Orthopedic, Chiropractor or Primary Care Physician they will probably order x-rays that will confirm a spur.  So whether or not you have a spur, the pain that limits your normal daily function can be incapacitating at times.  

So what causes this pain to come on with no warning and no history of injury?  There are many things that can cause heel pain such as the types of shoes worn, the type of foot you have (flat feet or high arches), weight has something to do with the condition.  Certain types of jobs have the potential to exacerbate the condition such as standing on your feet all day especially on hard surfaces, continuously getting in and out of high trucks, and jobs on ladders or carrying heavy weight for prolonged periods of time.

There are many treatments for heel pain but because one works for one person doesn't mean it will work on you.

Conservative treatments are wearing good supportive shoes, over the counter arch supports or your doctor may fit you for lab orthotics by making a cast of your feet and sending to an outside company to make these.  Ice therapy, physical therapy and stretching exercises that target the problem area may help to relieve the symptoms. Silicone heel cups act as a shock absorber as well as a pressure reducer in the heel area.

If the above treatments don't work then a possible steroid injection to the area of concern may help.  Other treatments are extracorporeal shock wave therapy, platelet rich plasma injections or surgery to remove the spur.

The recommendation is that if a treatment on your own doesn't help relieve the symptoms in 2-4 weeks then maybe it's time to contact a healthcare professional.

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