Heel Pain Treatment

So how exactly does one treat heel pain?  To answer that question, you need to know what is causing the heel pain.  So make sure to have your podiatrist thoroughly examine your feet and ankles to find the exact cause of your heel pain.

Now, heel pain treatments fall into two categories: Non-surgical and Surgical.  Let’s start with the non-surgical treatments as they are the easiest.

Non-surgical treatments:

Non-surgical treatments are usually all it takes to relieve heel pain and get you back on your feet again.  Of course, though it will be equally as important to rest your feet while they heal just as with surgery.  Here are some treatments that don’t require you to go under the knife:

Stretching Exercises – Certain stretches and exercises might be all that it takes to get rid of heel pain.  We will guide you through the right stretches and exercises so that you will understand how to do them at home.  Of course if you have any questions you can call our office during business hours and we’ll help you as best we can over the phone.  Some of the stretches include:

-  Towel stretches – This exercise is easiest and should be done every morning before you leave your bed.  Take a towel and make a loop around your foot.  Use it to pull your toes toward your body, but make sure to keep your knee straight.  Stretch each foot three times, and hold each stretch for 30 seconds, if possible.

-  Stair stretches – Go to a staircase and stand tall with the balls of both feet on the edge of the step. Make sure to place your hands on the stair railing or the wall so that you will have balance and support. Then, slowly lower your heels toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your lower leg and heels. Maintain that stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. This stretch is best when you repeat the process six times, and also perform it twice every day.

-  Wall-Leaning Stretch – Stand an arm’s length away from a sturdy wall, and then place both of your hands on the wall so they are at shoulder height.  Make sure that your feet slightly apart, and have one foot in front of the other. Next, bend your front knee and keep your back knee straight while you lean toward the wall. Hold that position for 10 seconds at a time for up to 15 or 20 repetitions per leg.

Physical Therapy – Sometimes, stretches and exercises at home are not enough and you need more help.  This is where we might send you to a physical therapist so that they can guide you through specialized techniques in their office and strengthen your leg, ankle and foot muscles.

Ice Treatments – Ice is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation.  If all you need is to apply ice at home a couple times a day, remember to never place the ice directly on your skin, which will burn your skin.  If you are in need of stronger ice treatments, such as an ice bath or soak, we will guide you through how to apply it properly.

Taping Fascia to see if Orthotics will work – In order to make sure that orthotics will work; Dr. Allen will tape your foot in a way to make your foot function properly.  He does this by taping the bottom of your feet to take pressure off of the plantar fascia.  If this works, he will then fit you with custom orthotics.

Orthotics – These are inserts that are placed inside you shoes to make sure that your foot functions properly.  They are also used to take pressure off and relieve pain on certain parts of your feet.  An orthotic from our office will be custom made to fit your feet exactly and fit your foot problem specifically.  It will relieve the pain for plantar fasciitis by stopping the pull on the ligament running across the bottom of your feet.

Heel Cups – These are like orthotics, but just the heel portion of the orthotic.  Like orthotics, you place these in your shoes and they take the pressure off of your heel for pain relieve.

Night Splints – These devices are used to stretch the ligament on the bottoms of your feet which is associated with plantar fasciitis.  As the name suggests, you wear these braces at night so that the ligaments don’t have time to tighten on you and can heal while they are in the stretched position, and thus it won’t tear once you apply weight on them.

Anti-inflammatory Creams and Patches – These topical treatments relieve pain and reduce swelling.  While they do work, they only dull the pain and the real problem might not be touched at all.  Make sure that when the inflammation goes down that you get them checked again to see if the cause has been taken care off.

Anti-inflammatory Injections – If cremes and icing doesn’t reduce the inflammation, injections might be needed to stop the swelling so that your body can get to the problem and have the natural healing process take effect, or so that your podiatrist can see what the underlying cause for the pain is.

PRP Injections – PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma and what happens is that Dr. Allen will draw blood from your arm and then spins the blood to allow the platelets to separate from the rest of the blood.  Then he will inject the platelets into the painful area and the platelets will speed up the healing process by signaling the body to get to work on healing that area.

Shockwave Therapy – Know as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT, what happens is that sonic waves are used on the painful area.  This is a noninvasive procedure and after a couple of sessions, most patients are heel pain free.

Surgical treatments:

If none of the non-surgical treatments take effect and you still experience heel pain, then surgery might be the option for you.  These are the surgeries that Dr. Allen can perform:

Outpatient Minimally Invasive Surgery – procedures can be done to correct heel problems, such as removing heel spurs, and you’ll be able to go home after the surgery is over.  Make sure to allow your foot to rest by keeping weight off of it for the required amount of time, which could vary with different surgeries.

Outpatient Endoscopic Surgery – this surgery procedure only takes a few minutes to compete and requires only a mild sedation.  Once done, you’ll be able to walk out the door.  Of course, we will ask that you minimize your walking so that your foot has time to heal properly.

Nerve Blocks – this surgery will block your sensory nerves so that you will not experience your heel pain anymore.  This is used in only extreme cases where nothing else has worked.

As always, surgery is usually the last option as most patients have had their heel pain relieved through non-surgical treatments, and as technology grows, we are sure that more treatments will be found to help with heel pain.

 

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