Here at the Foot Specialists of Long Island, we see many patients who are suffering from chronic heel pain. Now, it’s our mission to offer heel pain relief, but to do that, we have to uncover the source of your discomfort. So, what are the main causes of heel pain and how can we come up with the perfect treatment plan to offer relief? From plantar fasciitis to Achilles tendinitis and more, these are the most common causes of heel pain, and treatment options you can expect from Dr. Mark Gasparini and Dr. Novneet Chhabra, your podiatrists in Massapequa, NY.
Top 5 Causes of Heel Pain
With Spring just about to kick off here in New York, many of us are starting to head back outdoors—but, if we aren’t careful, our return to outdoor activities and exercise can leave us suffering with heel pain. Want to enjoy Spring’s return without the distraction of heel pain? Let’s get to the bottom of your heel pain causes, so we can give you lasting pain relief!
1. Plantar Fasciitis
This is the most common cause of heel pain we see in the office, and it’s a condition characterized by inflammation in the plantar fascia. (That’s the band of thick connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, beginning at the heel and ending in the midfoot.) The plantar fascia has a very important job, offering support for every step you take. Of course, being involved in every movement means that your plantar fascia can take a lot of pressure. And so many factors, such as tight calf muscles, excessive exercise or even your own biomechanics can stretch and strain the tissue band.
Put too much strain on your plantar fascia, and inflammation will develop; miniscule tears can also develop, leaving you with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. With this condition, you will feel heel pain at the base of the foot, and it may also be accompanied by arch pain. Plantar fasciitis pain is likely to be worst in the morning, when your first get out of bed, or after you’ve been sitting for a long time. At first, it will improve throughout the day as you move, but if left untreated, the pain of plantar fasciitis can become chronic.
Fortunately, plantar fasciitis pain relief is right around the corner at our podiatrist office in Massapequa. We have a range of treatment options available, from anti-inflammatory medications and injections to splints, physical therapy, laser treatment and custom orthotics or medical grade inserts. Once you come in to the office, we will determine the least invasive treatment option to give you lasting relief from heel pain.
2. Flat Feet
Patients with flat feet don’t have a visible arch when standing on the ground. While a common concern, having flat feet is also one of the more common causes of heel pain. Why? Flat feet are more likely to pronate, meaning they roll inward with movement. When your feet pronate, the movement can stretch your plantar fascia, leading to the inflammation and pain of plantar fasciitis. Want to protect your flat feet from help pain? From minimally invasive treatments such as stretching and orthotics to surgical care to repair and restore your arch, we are here and ready to help relieve the pain of your flat feet!
3. Achilles Tendonitis
While you may think Achilles tendon concerns would cause calf pain, this band does terminate at your heel bone, so it can also be associated with heel pain, located in or just above the heel. Specifically, if you develop Achilles tendonitis, or inflammation in your tendon, symptoms of this overuse injury may include heel pain that worsens after physical activity. Swelling can also develop. And you may notice stiffness, especially after long periods of inactivity.
To help you recover, we will suggest resting your legs by stopping strenuous physical activities. We will also suggest icing, stretching and even compressing the affected areas. Also, if biomechanical issues are contributing to your tendonitis, we may once again recommend custom orthotics to give you a more lasting solution to this cause of heel pain.
4. Haglund’s Deformity
A Haglund's deformity—also called a pump bump—is a hard bony bump that forms at the back of your heel. This bump is actually a sign of your body defending itself from external pressure, by sending extra calcium deposits to the back of your heel. That’s why the bump usually develops in response to poor shoe choices, putting pressure on your feet over time. Initially, a Haglund’s deformity may not cause heel pain. But a large bump can make wearing shoes painful. And, if that’s the cause of your heel pain, we can offer interventions like padding and medications to help relieve the pressure. If these don’t offer you relief, we can explore better shoe choices, or even recommend surgery to correct your Haglund’s deformity.
5. Injuries and Broken Bones
With all the activity in your day, you put lots of pressure on your heel bone, and that increases your risk for injuries such as stress fractures, or small, hairline cracks in the bone. With a stress fracture, you will still be able to walk, although doing so will be painful. At first, the heel pain of a stress fracture may be intermittent. But left overtime, the fracture will grow larger, worsening your pain and extending your recovery time. Want to avoid that outcome? Come into the office as soon as you suspect a stress fracture. We’ll get your heel x-rayed and get you on the path to a speedy and full recovery!
Relieving the Top Causes of Heel Pain in Massapequa, NY
As you can see by now, there are so many causes of heel pain, and that’s why we don’t want you to try and come up with an at-home diagnosis. That’s why, to ensure proper healing and a speedy recovery, it’s crucial that you make an appointment in the office as soon as you notice discomfort.
Once you come in, we can order diagnostic tests and get to the root cause of your heel pain. As soon as we know the source of your discomfort, we’ll give you a treatment plan that’s designed to deliver relief with the least amount of invasive procedures. Together, we’ll also come up with a recovery plan that lets you maintain safe activity levels without compromising your healing!