Heel pain has several causes, but it usually happens as a result of overuse. If you’ve been experiencing heel pain, don’t ignore it, or it could turn into a chronic condition. At Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center in Phoenix and Maricopa, Arizona, the team of board-certified podiatrists diagnoses conditions that cause heel pain and treat them through conservative and surgical approaches, including physical therapy and orthotics. To get an answer for what’s causing your heel pain and help to manage it, schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
Heel pain usually occurs as the result of injuries or overuse and affects the bottom or back of your heel. Conditions that cause heel pain include:
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick bands of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. It’s one of the most common causes of heel pain and results from excessive stress and tension on the heel. The condition is common among runners and people who work on their feet, including teachers, nurses, restaurant staff, and construction workers.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon, a band of flexible tissue that connects muscles to bones. Another common source of heel pain is Achilles tendonitis, affecting the tendon, which connects your calf to your heel bone. Your Achilles tendon helps you lift your heel when you walk or run, and the condition often affects runners, hikers, and people who play sports.
A heel spur is a bony growth resulting from a buildup of calcium. It often accompanies plantar fasciitis and insertional achilles tendonitis.
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone that results from overuse, or excess pressure on the affected bone.
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, but your doctor at Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center makes sure to pinpoint what’s causing your heel pain before determining a course of treatment.
This examination may be enough to confirm a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. If it does not, we have the most advanced diagnostic imaging available which may include dynamic ultrasound imaging (no radiation), x-rays and if necessary 3D CT scanning showing your foot as a complete 3 dimensional that can be visualized in any plane.
Treatment for heel pain depends on what’s causing it. To manage the pain of an inflammatory condition, like plantar fasciitis, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammation medications and at-home self-care, such as rest and ice. This also helps to avoid placing further stress on your heel and worsening your inflammation. Your doctor may also design a therapy program for your heel pain.
An important part of managing heel pain is preventing it from returning. Your doctor may help you change your exercise habits. Overuse injuries often happen because you don’t combine running with other activities that put less pressure on your foot or because you increase the intensity of your workouts too quickly.
One preventive measure for heel pain is your footwear. In addition to recommending appropriate supportive footwear for your activities, your doctor can fit you for custom-made orthotics. These shoe inserts properly align your feet, providing shock absorption and arch support to prevent heel pain.
Don’t ignore heel pain. To get a diagnosis and treatment, schedule an appointment at Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center online or over the phone.