Heel Pain Treatment
Heel pain is a general symptom that can point to a variety of conditions, although some are certainly more common than others. The pain can take different forms, sometimes being at its worst in the morning or only appearing during activity. Pinpointing the source of heel trouble will be the first step toward providing effective treatment.
The No. 1 Cause: Plantar Fasciitis
When most people have heel pain, what they are suffering from is plantar fasciitis. This is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue—the plantar fascia—that runs from the heel bone to the toes. This band provides an important connection and helps support the arch of the foot, so it is susceptible to stress from overuse as well as arch abnormalities such as flat feet or high arches.
Pain from plantar fasciitis is often felt directly beneath the heel and is frequently described as a stabbing or shooting sensation. Pain is often at its worst upon getting up in the morning or otherwise moving after a long period of rest, but will start to lessen once the plantar fascia has had a chance to warm up.
Fortunately, most cases of plantar fasciitis tend to respond well to conservative treatments and can be resolved within a few months. Rest, strengthening exercises, and the use of devices such as night splints or orthotics are common forms of therapy. One’s specific treatment plan is based on the severity of the issue and specific needs. In severe cases, more advanced forms of treatment or, more rarely, surgical intervention may be needed.
Other Causes of Heel Pain
If heel pain doesn’t stem from plantar fasciitis, a significant number of other causes could be at hand. Pain present beneath the heel could be as simple as a stone bruise that will gradually vanish with rest. It could also be a heel spur, a growth of calcium on the heel bone. These are sometimes related to cases of plantar fasciitis, but are not always responsible for causing pain in themselves.
Pain that is centered more behind the heel can indicate Achilles tendonitis or bursitis. A bone spur might also be possible in this location.
Additionally, pain in the heel region can be caused by a compressed or pinched nerve. Tarsal tunnel syndrome, a compression of the tibial nerve that provides sensation to the bottom of the foot is a common culprit.
Please note that this section does not provide a comprehensive list of possible causes. Having such a broad spectrum of possibilities is what makes it so important to carefully investigate and correctly diagnose the problem. Although plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain, treatments for it may not have much effect on other conditions.
Expert Heel Pain Treatment in Missoula, MT
Many people come to accept heel pain as an unavoidable part of life, but no form of pain is ever normal. Whatever the cause of painful heels, Dr. Gregg Neibauer and the staff of Alpine Foot & Ankle Clinic can get to the source and provide the best treatments, therapies, and lifestyle changes to bring relief. Take the first steps toward healthier, happier heels by calling our Missoula office at (406) 721-4007.