Heel Pain Treatment in Bonita Springs, South Florida
Foot Pain Specialties
Often the first part of the foot to hit the ground, the heel is a common location of foot pain. The calcaneus (heel bone) is the focal point of two strong ligaments: the Achilles tendon, which attaches the calf muscles to the foot, and the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the foot, attaching the toes to the heel. Given the amount of stress and forces to which the heel is subjected during movement, it is not surprising that heel pain can occur due to a variety of sources.
Causes of Heel Pain
Heel pain is often the result of an abnormal gait when walking, which places excessive stress on the heel bone and attached ligaments. Excessively running or jogging on hard surfaces, poorly manufactured footwear, or being overweight exacerbates these stresses. These factors may result in the formation of a heel spur, a bony growth on the underside of the heel bone.
A normal walking gait involves pronation, or a slight inward rolling motion that flexes and flattens the arch of the foot during movement. The weight of the body shifts from the heel to the big toe along the outside of the foot. Excessive inward motion can lead to an overextension of the tendons of the foot. This occurrence, known as excessive pronation, can not only result in heel pain, but also injuries to the hip, knee, and lower back.
The plantar fascia tendon extends along the underside of the foot and connects the heel to the ball of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the tendon, and can result from overextension, which causes the tissues of the tendon to tear. This tearing can also lead to the growth of heel spurs. Plantar Fasciitis is common among athletes of sports that require a lot of running and jumping. The condition makes mobility very painful.
Inflammation of the heel area can result from several sources and lead to pain and discomfort. The bursa, a small fluid-filled sack that allows for pain free joint movement, can become irritated and inflamed.
When irritated by pressure from ill-fitting shoes, bursitis can result in Haglund's deformity, an enlargement on the back of the calcaneus.
Common amongst active walkers and runners, Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which can lead to the growth of heel spurs.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When heel pain becomes chronic and debilitating, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon, such as Dr. Weaver, is often the first step towards a return to daily activities. Beginning with a series of physical tests based on the location of the pain, Dr. Weaver will determine if more substantial testing, such as an x-ray or MRI, is necessary.
Heel pain can often be treated through conservative, non-surgical methods, including rest, ice, medications, and stretching. Furthermore, Dr. Weaver may recommend a more supportive shoe or shoe insert to alleviate the stress placed on the heel during activity. A night splint may also be recommended to stretch the plantar fascia tendon while sleeping.
Based on the cause and persistence of debilitative heel pain, surgery may be recommended to relieve tension on the plantar fascia tendon or Achilles tendon and may include the removal of bone spurs.
Foot and Ankle Treatment in Bonita Springs, South Florida
Dr. Weaver is a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in the treatment of injuries of the foot and ankle. To schedule an appointment, contact either the Joint Replacement Institute’s Naples’ office at (239) 261-2663.