Pain that develops on the outside or underside of the heel can interfere with your normal activities. If you frequently experience discomfort when walking, running, or standing, you could have chronic heel pain.
Many conditions and injuries can cause heel pain, including:
By far the most common cause of heel pain, plantar fasciitis affects the thick band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel — the plantar fascia. Frequent stress, pressure, and strain on the plantar fascia lead to pain-causing inflammation. This is called plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that form bony growths. They develop gradually, often alongside plantar fasciitis.
The Achilles tendon, stretching from the back of the heel through the calf, lifts your heel off the ground during movement. Too much stress on this vital tendon can cause stiffness, pain, and inflammation.
When you stand, the arches in your midfoot should lift above the ground. Flat feet occur when the whole of your sole sits flush to the ground. If this space lifts too far off the ground, you have high arches. Both structural problems can cause arch and heel pain.
Diagnosing heel pain requires a complete visual exam and medical history review. Your Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates provider will examine your foot mechanics, structure, and gait (the way you walk) to diagnose the source of your heel pain.
In addition, your provider could order imaging procedures, like X-rays, an MRI, or an ultrasound, to view your foot’s internal structure.
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, treatments at Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates can include:
3D scanned custom orthotics are shoe inserts that mold to the exact shapes of your feet. These custom-made devices support and cushion your feet to relieve heel pain, correct imbalances, and restore function.
Anti-inflammatory medication and steroid injections can reduce swelling around the heel to relieve pain.
Physical therapy involves stretches, exercises, night splints, and other nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain and restore the function of your damaged heel.
If conservative care fails to improve your pain, surgery is the next step. The Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates providers can repair a damaged plantar fascia or Achilles tendon, remove heel spurs, and perform other surgical treatments to lessen or eliminate heel pain.
To learn more about heel pain, call Richmond Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates today or schedule an appointment online.