Whenever you step, run, jump, or do just about anything with your feet, you most likely involve the heels. As a result, the heels have developed very thick skin in order to cushion and support your entire bodyweight. However, the heels can also be the sources of sharp or throbbing pain and soreness, especially first thing in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. Although it might seem like it has no cause, the heel pain can be explained by abnormalities with the plantar fascia, the fibrous tissue that stretches the length of the foot.
Each time you take a step, the plantar fascia flattens out and elongates, and the tension is released once your foot leaves the ground again. When your plantar fascia stretches excessively, it causes a small tear where it attaches to the heel bone and starts to form a heel spur. The repeated over-stretching is typically the main cause of the heel pain.
Once the diagnosis is made by physical examination or by x-ray, treatment can begin based on the stage of the condition.
· Calf muscle stretches will help to give the plantar fascia more room to stretch without tearing
· Oral anti-inflammatory medication may help alleviate some of the initial pain
· Foot orthotics may be customized to the shape of your foot in order to correct the abnormal pronation that is causing your heel pain
· A new treatment called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy may be recommended in order to send sound energy directly to the heel and stimulate healing
· Finally, surgery to release the tension on the plantar fascia may be recommended for heel pain that does not respond to other treatment
Each case of heel pain is unique and requires special attention. The doctors at the Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston are prepared to give you the quality care that will reduce your heel pain and keep it away for good. At any of their six offices in the North Houston, Texas area, the doctors can treat a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions. If you have any questions or would like to request an appointment, please contact us or call us at (281) 444-4114!