Heel Pain Specialist
As bipedal beings, we put a tremendous amount of pressure on our feet every day. Not only that, but our weight is distributed over a remarkably small area in relation to our size. Because of this, foot discomfort or heel pain is a common occurrence for many patients. However, this does not mean you are stuck with it.
Diagnosing Heel Pain
It can be difficult to pinpoint the causes of heel pain without speaking to a orthopedic specialist in Washington DC, like Dr. Stein. Unfortunately, with the exceptions of localized bruising, your problem is not likely to go away, especially as you continue to put the injured area under strain day to day.
If your discomfort cannot be adequately explained by a visible bruise at the site, then your best course of action is to consult Dr. Stein.
Common Causes of Heel Pain
The following conditions are the most likely to cause heel pain.
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that stretches from the ball of the foot to the heel, maintaining the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is identified by the presence of painful inflammation in this band. If left unchecked, the inflammation can cause increased tension, particularly where the fascia meets the heel bone, leading to small tears in the tissue and significant discomfort.
Plantar fasciitis is also a common cause of bone spurs, which can cause additional heel pain. Fortunately, a simple x-ray can be used to identify this condition and will indicate to your orthopedic surgeon that plantar fasciitis could be an underlying cause.
Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors
Plantar fasciitis is typically caused by a problem in the structure of the arch itself. However, obesity, intense exercise, and footwear with poor arch support are also contributing risk factors.
Unlike plantar fasciitis, calcaneal apophysitis results in pain at the back of the heel rather than at the bottom. The condition is caused by irritation of the heel bone as a result of increased tension put on the apophysitis growth plate. This tension is typically caused by a taunt Achilles tendon repeatedly pulling the growth plate.
Calcaneal Apophysitis Risk Factors
This condition is most common in children between the ages of eight and fourteen. Their risk increases with the amount of physical activity performed on a daily basis, especially when their shoes are still new and stiff.
Bursitis refers to the inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, muscles, and tendons. Although bursitis can develop in many major joints, bursitis in the heel region is more difficult to relieve due to the constant pressure caused by walking.
Bursitis Risk Factors
The presence of Achilles tendonitis, caused by overly taunt tendons, or a sudden change in exercise regime are two common factors that may increase your risk of bursitis.
Posterior Calcaneal Exostosis
Also known as “pump bump,” posterior calcaneal exostosis is an abnormal bony growth caused by repeated stress. Although generally painless, discomfort can occur in severe cases.
Posterior Calcaneal Exostosis Risk Factors
This condition is mostly limited to adult women who have a habit of wearing high-heeled shoes. The cut of a classic pump rubs against the back of the heel near the insertion of the Achilles tendon. Repeated wear over time causes the bone spur to develop.
How is Heel Pain Treated?.
Fortunately, most cases of heel pain respond well to non-surgical treatment. Dr. Stein’s first goal is to reduce inflammation at the site of injury. In the early stages of treatment, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are often adequate. Combined with stretching, rest, and a re-evaluation of your footwear, most causes of heel pain can be treated in just a few weeks.
After several weeks, if you haven’t seen dramatic improvement, Dr. Stein will implement treatments designed to ensure you’re giving the problem area adequate rest. By taping the foot, splinting it, or using a walking cast, Dr. Stein will guarantee that the foot stays in the appropriate position, even while you’re sleeping. If the inflammation isn’t responding to basic anti-inflammatories, then corticosteroid injection may be recommended. If your heel pain is likely to recur due to structural issues, then Dr. Stein will speak to you regarding the use of an orthotic device designed to support your foot.
How to Prevent Heel Pain?
Fortunately, there are things you can do at home to prevent heel pain. The core causes of heel pain are:
- Sudden increases in physical activity
- Inadequate footwear
- Lack of structural integrity in the foot itself
Preventing heel pain can be broken down into three easy steps.
- Wear the right footwear for you. When it comes to buying footwear you wear every day, invest in a solid shoe. Look for a good insole with enough arch support. They may cost you a little more, but they’ll last a lot longer and save you a lot of pain in the future. In addition, if your orthopaedist suggests using an orthotic device to compensate for weak arches or another structural problem, then wear them.
- Take care of yourself. If you struggle with obesity, your heel health is largely based on taking baby steps towards a healthier weight. If you hope to use exercise to lose weight in addition to diet, then start gradually and make sure you stretch on a regular basis.
- Be proactive. If you’re already an avid athlete, make sure you replace your shoes as they start to show wear. In addition, don’t forget to stretch your feet and Achilles tendons whenever you exercise. If you start training for a challenging athletic endeavor, then increase your workout’s intensity gradually.
Contact the Top Heel Pain Specialist
Many of us take for granted the ability to walk short distances without discomfort. It isn’t until we are burdened by unexplainable heel pain that we realize the important role our feet play in our overall mobility and health. If you require a foot and ankle surgery in Washington DC to alleviate heel pain, contact Dr. Stein at your earliest convenience.
As an award-winning orthopedic surgeon with world-class training, Dr. Stein is well versed in treating foot and ankle conditions. No matter how unique, every patient deserves comfort. Visiting a top orthopedic specialist like Dr. Stein is the first step towards a painless step.