Heel Pain

Heel Pain Is Our Specialty

The heel contains the largest bone in the foot. Heel pain can occur for any number of reasons, and Dr. Edward Lang at New Orleans Podiatry Associates has a number of conservative treatments available to give you immediate relief. Heel pain is our field of speciality, and we understand the devastating effects it can have on your life. 

Pain by Any Other Name Still Hurts the Same: Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain/Heel Spur Syndrome

Plantar fasciitis is the term used by physicians to refer to heel and arch pain traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot, and it is more commonly referred to as heel spur syndrome or heel pain . More specifically, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue, called plantar fascia , that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. The pain associated with this condition may disappear for a time, but it can always return, especially after a long period of time spent resting or walking.

Most Common Cause of Plantar Fasciitis

Overpronation , excessive inward motion, is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. As the foot rolls inward excessively when walking, the foot flattens, the arch lengthens, and the plantar fascia receives additional tension. Over time, this causes inflammation. 

Additional Causes of Heel Pain

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Being overweight
  • Bursitis
  • Heel spurs , or bony growths on the underside of the heel
  • Incurring an Injury or bruise due to walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes

Symptoms of Heel Pain

  • Pain, especially when taking those first morning steps
  • Redness
  • Sensation of heat
  • Swelling

Treatment for Heel Pain

  • Appropriate stretching exercises
  • Appropriately fitting shoes
  • custom-made orthotics 
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injection therapy, which reduces inflammation and gives the plantar fascia an opportunity to heal
  • Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy
  • Surgery to release the plantar fascia, when conservative care has not produced sufficient results.
  • Use of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation of the fascia (Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.)
  • Use of ice packs

Popular and Effective Conservative Care:

Surgery is usually not needed for plantar fasciitis, and many people who have plantar fasciitis are able to relieve heel pain with conservative. Two of the most popular and effective conservative treatments for plantar fasciitis are steroid injection therapy and Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy. 

When Surgery is Recommended:

When Surgery is recommended, endoscopic plantar fasciotomy (EPF) is a minimally invasive and minimally traumatic surgical treatment for the common problem of chronic plantar fasciitis. This procedure is indicated only for the release of the proximal medial aspect of the fascia in cases that do not respond to aggressive conservative, nonsurgical treatment. In the literature, an overall 87% success rate has been reported in 1228 procedures, in addition to an 83% success rate reported by Burke at the Northwest Podiatric Foundation Surgical Seminar in January 2000.  Citation: Hake DH. Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy: a minimally traumatic procedure for chronic plantar fasciitis. Ochsner J. 2000;2(3):175-178.

Plantar Fasciitis Video

This is a YouTube video that provides good information for those who are interested in heel and arch pain. For more information on morning exercises that will give you great relief from heel and arch pain or to learn more about how to choose the right shoes to alleviate plantar fasciitis, make an appointment with our board certified foot and ankle surgeons today.

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