Heel pain is about so much more than a few aches in a part of the body most people don’t often think much about. Your feet are your foundation, so when your heels are in pain, it throws your entire system off. It becomes much more difficult to work, play, enjoy sports or hobbies, or do any of the things you really want to do.
At Omega Medical Group (OMG), we understand that pain-free heels are an important component of whole body physical and mental health. That’s why our entire team is so dedicated to helping you get better and get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Common Causes of Heel Pain
A wide range of different conditions can cause heel pain. Dr. Olacio will examine your feet carefully, as well as take all the time needed to discuss your history and symptoms with you, in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis and build a personalized treatment plan. Possible conditions include:
- Plantar fasciitis. This is the leading cause of heel pain for adults. The most common symptom is a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot that emerges most forcefully when first getting up from bed or a lengthy sit. It refers to swelling or damage in a band of connective tissue along the bottom of your foot known as the plantar fascia. Heel spurs are often associated with this condition.
- Achilles tendon injuries. Achilles tendons can be damaged by a single traumatic injury (where they can tear or even rupture completely) or degenerate progressively through repetitive wear and tear. Pain is often located along the back of the leg, near the area where the tendon inserts into the heel bone.
- Stress Fractures. These are tiny cracks in the surface of bones that form due to repetitive shocks and stresses.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. As with the carpal tunnel in the wrist, the narrow tarsal tunnel in the back of the foot can become compressed, pinching the nerve that passes through the space and leading to pain in the heel.
- Sever’s Disease. This is the most common cause of heel pain in children, particularly active young teens going through a growth spurt. Tight tendons in the leg pull painfully on the growth plate of the heel, which is exposed in children who are still growing.
In many cases, heel pain ultimately boils down to overuse. We spend all day, every day walking, running, jumping, and playing on hard, flat, unforgiving surfaces. Over time, those daily stresses lead to swelling, wear, and tear.
A number of underlying risk factors can contribute to faster development of heel pain from overuse. This can include structural problems, such as flat feet, which may not provide the heels with enough support or cushioning to withstand the constant pressure. It might also include wearing ill-fitting footwear, a sudden change in activity intensity, or other factors.
Treating Heel Pain
Many other podiatrists stress rest as an integral component for recovering from heel pain, and while that can sometimes be necessary, we don’t make it a focus of our treatment process for heel pain at OMG. Instead, our goal is to get you up and active as quickly as possible during the healing process. Being more active at an earlier point in the process produces many benefits—it helps you heal faster, maintain a higher level of strength and fitness throughout the process, and of course keep your spirits up!
A variety of treatment options, from traditional to state-of-the-art, are available to help you fix your heel pain fast. They include, but are not limited to:
- Custom Orthotics. These devices are inserted into your shoes to provide any extra cushioning, support, and pressure distribution your feet need to deflect pain away from aching heels. They can be specially made from a mold of your foot, ensuring an exact fit and the best possible results. We proudly carry Total Contact Orthotics, which help correct your feet even while sitting—not just when standing.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy. Common in sports medicine, PRP can be an effective remedy for chronic heel pain caused by conditions like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinosis. By re-injecting a plasma-rich concentration of your own blood into the site of pain, the therapy stimulates your natural healing process to repair soft tissue damage faster.
- Physical Therapy. Depending on the specific cause of your heel pain, a variety of stretches and exercises can be recommended to relieve tight muscles and tendons, build strength and range of motion, and minimize pain. We’ll carefully walk you through each one so that you can continue the therapy on your own at home.
At OMG, we pride ourselves on providing personalized solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for heel pain. No two cases are exactly alike, just as no two patients are exactly alike! We’ll help you select the best treatment course based on factors such as the underlying causes of your heel pain, the severity of the condition, and what your short, medium, and long-term goals are. We’ll also take as long as needed to make sure you are fully educated about your condition and treatment plan, so you can leave our office with confidence!
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Olacio, please call us today at (305) 514-0404 or complete our online contact form. We are happy to speak with you in either English or Spanish, so use whatever is most comfortable for you!