Help for Heel Pain – We’ll Keep You Moving!
Colorado Springs is home to an active community of runners, hikers, dancers, athletes, military personnel, veterans, teachers, factory workers, and more. No wonder we are one of the fittest communities in the entire United States!
While we encourage all our patients to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles, it’s also true that physical activity can lead to pain and injury, too. Long hours on your feet at work, or physically-demanding hobbies and activities, can wear down your feet and leave you hobbling.
You don’t always have to be on the move to suffer from heel pain, though. Foot structure and other factors also contribute to long-running discomfort.
The bottom line is this: when your feet hurt, you can’t enjoy the lifestyle you want to live. At McVay Foot & Ankle, we are totally focused on helping you overcome your heel pain and get back on your feet.
What’s at the Source of Your Heel Pain?
A wide variety of medical conditions can produce pain in the heel area. Some of the more common include:
- Plantar fasciitis. This is the top cause of heel pain in adults. A strong band of tissue called the plantar fascia runs across the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, supporting the arch. Overuse can lead to stretching and tearing, producing pain. Symptoms are often worst right when you get up from bed, but start to subside as you move.
- Achilles tendon disorders. Possible problems include tendinitis, which refers to inflammation in the tendon after an acute injury, or tendinosis, which is degradation of the tendon fibers themselves due to repetitive, chronic trauma. Achilles tendon pain tends to be felt more toward the back of the heel, or slightly above it.
- Bursitis. A small, fluid-filled sac called a bursa sits in the space between the Achilles tendon and heel bone to reduce friction. When injured, it can cause significant pain that is often mistaken for an Achilles injury.
- Heel spurs. These bony outgrowths on the underside of the heel bone are often the results of excess strain on soft tissues in the area, including the plantar fascia. Many spurs are harmless, but can sometimes develop in places that cause irritation and discomfort.
- Stress fractures. When a bone is exposed to excess force and repetitive stress, it can develop small fractures along its surface. Stress fractures tend to become more painful with activity and tend to become worse if not allowed to heal.
Even more causes of heel pain exist, and the key to the most effective treatment lies in making the right diagnosis. If you have tried one or two remedies for your heel pain that haven’t worked, that doesn’t mean you should give up—it means you need a professional to get to the true source of the problem!
Heel Pain Treatments
Treatment always begins with an initial evaluation. Here, we will conduct a thorough examination, including the use of any appropriate diagnostic technologies, to be sure that the diagnosis is correct. Then, we’ll discuss your treatment options and alternatives with you fully, so we can make an informed decision—together—about the best way forward.
When it comes to heel pain, we usually begin with a focus on conservative care. Do what you can to rest your feet. We know you probably can’t skip work, but cut back temporarily on other activities that cause pain, like running or sports. Prop your feet up, take some ibuprofen, and use icing as necessary to help out with pain and swelling.
If symptoms haven’t improved within a few days, or it’s clear that more advanced options are needed, we’ll move on to other protocols. Common treatments include:
- Injection. A short of a corticosteroid into the site of injury can help with pain and swelling.
- Orthotics. Inserts that fit into your shoes can provide the extra cushioning and support your feet need to eliminate the pain. This is especially effective when heel pain can be traced back to an abnormality in foot structure or weight distribution. We can fit you for appropriate pre-made orthotics, or use our digital scanning technology to create a customized set.
- Physical therapy. Often, a program of stretches and exercise can help you reduce strain on the heels and strengthen supporting muscles to heal and rehabilitate an injury.
- Surgery. Most forms of heel pain and sports injuries will not require surgery. However, it is sometimes necessary in severe cases. We perform everything from minimally-invasive plantar fasciotomies and nerve releases to complex reconstructive surgeries. Our goal is never to push you into a surgery you don’t need, but to provide you with options and help you make the best choice for your condition, needs, and goals.
When it comes to heel pain and injury, don’t wait for painful symptoms to force your hand! Seeking treatment early, getting a proper diagnosis, and working through an appropriate treatment plan will help you recover faster so you can return to your lifestyle.
Schedule an appointment at McVay Foot & Ankle in Colorado Springs by calling (719) 266-5000 today. You can also reach us electronically by filling out the online contact form below.
Note: Please do not use the contact form to send extensive or Protected Health Information (PHI). Please phone our office instead.