When you have persistent heel pain, you want answers to some serious questions. Why does my heel hurt so much in the morning or after a long drive in the car? If exercise is so healthy for me, why are my heels painful after I run or play tennis? What can be done to relieve my symptoms? Who should evaluate my heel problem?
It May Be Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a long band of thin connective tissue which begins at the bottom of the toes, supports the arch of the foot and inserts into the heel bone. When repeatedly stressed through activities such as running, tennis or other sports, the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, and pain results. Stressors such as these may increase the problem:
- tight calf muscles from athletic activity
- high arches
- shoes with very thin soles and poor support
Heel pain is not necessarily an issue during physical activity, but rather afterwards. For instance, people say their heels hurt immediately after getting out of bed in the morning or after a long stretch of desk work.
People often confuse plantar fasciitis with a heel spur, a small, bony prominence on the bottom of the foot at the heel bone. Heel spurs, however, are unrelated to plantar fasciitis and are painful in only 5 percent of the people who have them.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
With a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis confirmed on x-ray or with other imaging, your West Houston foot & ankle specialist may suggest these minimally-invasive strategies to treat your heel pain:
- anti-inflammatory medications such as cortisone injections
- icing the inflamed area
- calf stretching exercises
- custom-made or over-the-counter orthotics (shoe inserts)
- physical therapy
- shoes with thick, supportive soles
- nighttime splints
- new technology called E.P.A.T. that uses acoustic sound waves to treat pain
Surgery is always a last resort for plantar fasciitis. The common surgeries involve lengthening of the calf muscle and plantar fasciitis release in which an incision relieves the pressure on the plantar fascia.
Consult Your West Houston Podiatrists, Dr. Asia. E. Lo, Dr. Sam Mendicino or Dr. Manish Patel
At The Foot and Ankle Institute, Asia E. Lo DPM FACFAS, Samuel S. Mendicino DPM FACFAS and Manish Patel DPM can locate the source of your heel pain and effectively treat it. These West Houston foot & ankle specialists deal with a wide range of foot and ankle maladies, including plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, bunions, fractures, ankle sprains, foot & ankle arthritis and toenail fungus.
Call their Houston, TX office today to set-up an appointment: (281) 531-4100.