Ouch, My Heel Hurts!

3 Mar

plantar fascia heel illustration
Heel pain. Everyone has had it and it is the most common pain we experience with the first step in the morning when we get out of bed. It may occur after a long day at the office or after a day at the mall. Medically, it’s known as Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common and persistent foot problems affecting men and women of all ages. It originates deep within the foot directly on the heel bone or in the foot’s connective tissue. Pain results when tissues become irritated or inflamed, and occurs most frequently in adults forty years and older, especially women. Being overweight and wearing inapropriate footwear are common contributing factors. The pain is most noticeable after getting out of bed in the morning and tends to decrease after a few minutes, returning later in the day as time on the feet increases.

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Common treatments like NSAIDs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen), injections (either cortisone injections or prolotherapy injections) stretching exercises, physical therapy and custom orthotics (shoe inserts) often relieve Plantar Fasciitis within 1-2 visits.

If heel pain has lasted more than 6 months, and hasn’t responded to the methods noted above, more aggressive treatments may be needed, such as Extracorporeal (meaning “outside the body”) Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT. In ESWT, shock waves are delivered to the heel from outside of the body. The targeted area reacts by creating new blood vessels which increases delivery of nutrients, ultimately healing the affected area. Low energy shock wave treatments are administered in 3 or more sessions and cause little to no pain. For more serious heel pain cases, high energy shock waves may be required, which will require anesthesia.

Not all heel pain is caused by Plantar Fasciitis. It can also occur from inflammation of the Achilles tendon, bursitis, arthritis, gout, stress fractures, or irritation of the nerves in the area of the heel. In these cases, your pain could be a symptom of a serious medical condition which should be diagnosed immediately.

East Penn Foot and Ankle Associates has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions. Take advantage of our doctor’s expertise to alleviate your heel pain.

Adam J. Teichman, DPM., AACFAS

2895 Hamilton Blvd, Suite 101 Allentown, PA 18104

T: 610-432-9593 F: 610-432-4887

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