“I can’t put any weight on my heel!”
We hear this complaint from lots of patients. Mostly our active patients. Why is this happening? It is important to know what occurred prior to the onset of the pain. A new workout regimen, maybe? A new job? Maybe a long trip where they walked for prolonged hours or on uneven surfaces. Maybe they started going up and down ladders to put up Christmas lights or clean the gutters. If you have heel pain with the first step in the morning that gets better with the first few steps, then worsens after standing or walking for long periods of time, you most likely have plantar fasciitis. Consulting “Dr. Google” isn’t the same thing as confirming a diagnosis. If you have sharp, stabbing heel pain, it is important to get evaluated and get advice from real experts. Call our Long Beach, CA podiatry office today to determine the best treatment option for you. Don’t wait, we can help! We are here to keep you pain-free and moving forward! Call (562) 429-5300 to schedule an appointment.
Heel pain is not normal.
It is important to know the cause of heel pain in order to determine the right treatment. If you have pain on the bottom of your heel, it is most likely plantar fasciitis. It also could be a cracked heel bone or torn muscle. Pain behind the heel is most likely related to the Achilles tendon, and could be a torn Achilles tendon, bursitis or a broken heel spur. A torn or injured posterior tibial tendon can mimic heel pain. The many causes of heel pain include strains, sprains, tarsal tunnel syndrome, stress fractures, and in young children Sever’s disease (calcaneal apophysitis). No matter the actual cause of heel pain, it is important to have it evaluated and treated. If you have heel pain, it is important to remember that you do not want to push through the pain. Pain is there to let you know there is a problem and to force you to slow down to address the problem. Pushing through the pain puts you at a much greater risk of injury. Call our Long Beach, CA office today to have your heel pain evaluated. We have in-office x-rays and an MRI to help evaluate the cause of your heel pain so we can effectively treat the heel pain and get you back on your feet again.
“What can I do at home to relieve my heel pain?”
Pain is not normal. It is important to remember that. If you are having heel pain, you need to step back for a moment and realize that something needs to be done to get it better. Heel pain doesn’t go away by itself, and in many cases may require a visit with a skilled medical practitioner to adequately diagnose and treat the heel pain. That being said, there are some things you can do right now for your heel pain at home. First, rest is very important. One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which is usually an overuse injury. Resting allows our overused and damaged soft tissues to heal. Second is to avoid walking barefoot. This means wearing supportive slippers, sandals or shoes with arch supports, not just wearing socks around the house. Third is to stretch your Achilles tendon regularly and several times per day. Fourth is oral anti-inflammatories such as Aleve, Ibuprofen or Motrin, which can help. However, we always recommend you take an oral anti-inflammatory at the end of the day. If you take them early in the day, your pain might feel better because it is being masked by the medication and you might go on to reinjure the heel. Fifth is icing for about 20 to 30 minutes, a couple of times per day. If you are having heel pain, give our Long Beach podiatry office a call. We are here to evaluate and treat your heel pain and get you back on your feet again.
What types of treatment are available for heel pain?
If your heel pain is due to plantar fasciitis with sharp pain on the bottom of the heel with the first step in the morning and/or at the end of a long day, we have many different treatments available. We offer custom orthotics, cortisone injections, shockwave therapy and MLS laser therapy in our office. If you have tried resting, icing, stretching, and your heel pain persists, it is important to come into our office and make sure the heel pain is really plantar fasciitis. You may need further treatments, such as injections, custom orthotics, shockwave and/or laser treatments to get your heel pain better. We are devoted to avoid surgery if possible, however are board certified in foot and ankle surgery, if that is the necessary treatment. Don’t wait until your condition worsens! We are dedicated to get you back on your feet again and keep you active. Call us today and let us help you get back to the life that you love.
End your heel pain and get back to the activities that you love!
Our custom orthotics are created specifically for your unique feet and are designed to return you to the active, healthy, mobile lifestyle you want, and ensure you don't lose time at work or at play.
What are custom orthotics?
Custom orthotics are specially-made devices designed to support your feet and provide comfort. Prescription orthotics are crafted for you and no one else. They match the contours of your feet precisely and are designed for the way you move. FYI: If you go into a store and come out the same day with "custom" insoles, they are NOT custom!! Beware of stores that sell insoles for thousands of dollars that you take home the same day. Our custom orthotics are made by casts with your feet in neutral position, and our doctor writes a prescription depending on your specific needs. Some people pronate, some people supinate, some people have problems with their forefeet that need specifics written into the prescription.
Can shockwave therapy cure my heel pain?
The short answer? YES! However, it is important to note that rest, stretching, custom orthotics and supportive shoes are also important, with shockwave combination with the above. If you only have shockwave treatment and continue to jump off the back of a truck, the heel pain will not improve.
Shockwave therapy has been used for many years. It started out in Europe before emerging to the US as a treatment for a number of musculoskeletal conditions, including heel pain. Shockwave therapy works by sending thousands of shockwaves to an area of injury over a very short period of time. The shockwaves physically break up inflammation and bring increased blood flow to an injured area. Traditionally these treatments required anesthesia and were performed in an operating room. Thankfully, there have been a lot of improvements and advances in technology. Our shockwave therapy, although very strong, does not require anesthesia and can be performed in our office. Most heel pain conditions need a minimum of three treatments and full results are often not seen for at least six weeks after you begin treatment with shockwave. If you are currently experiencing heel pain, call our Long Beach podiatry office today, so we can evaluate your condition and work together with you to get you out of pain as quickly as possible.
Can MLS laser therapy cure my heel pain?
Again, YES! It is important along with rest, stretching, custom orthotics and supportive shoes.
MLS laser therapy is a non-invasive technique to help reduce pain and inflammation. The laser therapy can be safely used as an adjunct or replacement for pharmaceutical drugs or surgery. This pain relief treatment is FDA cleared and enables patients to have an alternative to drugs and surgery. The MLS laser provides rapid relief of pain, has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, and heals injured tissue by stimulating fibroblast development in damaged tissue. The laser improves nerve function and stimulates the body's own healing ability. The laser is non-invasive, non-painful, does not require anesthesia and is painless.
A very common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition in and around your heel that causes strain and small tears in the plantar fascia. When you stand for prolonged periods of time, walk or run, you can re-injure the plantar fascia. Usually heel pain from plantar fascia occurs with the first step in the morning and periods of sitting. The pain can be sharp and shooting, and improve with walking. The fascia is injured and can heal. Don’t wait until the pain is constant. We can help you get back on your feet again.
Another common cause of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis. This heel pain occurs in the back of the heel, and also can be sharp, shooting pain with the first step in the morning. The pain can extend up your calf. It can sometimes be a burning pain as well. If you have Achilles tendon pain, don’t wait. If treated early, we may be able to prevent surgery. Once the tendinitis progresses, the Achilles tendon can tear more or rupture, and surgery may be required.
TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Sometimes tarsal tunnel syndrome is the cause of heel pain. The tarsal tunnel is on the inside of your ankle, and that is where the nerves, blood vessels and tendons travel from the leg across the ankle into the heel. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the nerve inside the tarsal tunnel is compressed and becomes very painful. The pain is described as burning, sharp, shooting pain, and sometimes there is numbness on the bottom of the foot.
POSTERIOR TIBIAL TENDINITIS
The posterior tibial tendon is the tendon responsible for holding up the arch. If the posterior tibial tendon is injured or torn, it can cause heel pain. This condition is very serious. When the tendon becomes injured and torn, the arch can collapse and the foot shape can change. There are four stages of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. This is an injury that can heal and improve with treatment if treated early.
If the heel bone (calcaneus) is bruised or broken, it can cause heel pain also. This pain does also occur with the first step in the morning, but typically does not improve with walking. It is important to have x-rays and an MRI done of your foot if you have constant heel pain, in order to get the proper treatment. If this is caught early on, we can avoid surgery and get you back on your feet as soon as possible.
SEVER’S DISEASE (Calcaneal apophysitis)
Sever’s disease is not a disease, it is a heel pain condition in children and teenagers. This condition is very common with active children, and occurs from running and jumping, resulting in inflammation of the heel and Achilles tendon. Surgery is not necessary to treat Sever’s disease, however it is important to come in as early as possible to keep your young athlete still in the game.
HAGLUND’S DEFORMITY (Pump bump)
Some heel pain is caused by a bony proliferation on the back of the heel. This is caused by the strong Achilles tendon pulling at the bone, and the bone makes more bone. It is more common in people with high arches and tight Achilles tendons, but can occur in any foot type.
Heel spurs are not the cause of heel pain. Frequently patients come in with the diagnosis of a heel spur, and request surgical removal. Heel spurs are the result of either the plantar fascia or Achilles tendon pulling on the heel bone. The pain is caused from the plantar fascia or Achilles tendon. Surgery is not necessary for over 90% of heel spurs.
Bursa sacs are fluid-filled sacs that occur all over the body in an effort to cushion a painful, inflamed or irritated area. Bursitis is inflammation of a bursal sac. Sometimes bursitis next to the Achilles tendon is the cause of the pain.
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR HEEL PAIN?
It is very important to have the cause of your heel pain determined in order to find the proper treatment. In our office, we have x-rays and an MRI to help with diagnosing your heel condition. We also have an MLS cold laser that helps with healing, without surgery. We are committed to keep our patients on their feet, or return them to their activities as soon as possible. We are also devoted to avoiding surgery if possible, however are qualified for reconstructive foot and ankle surgery if that is the necessary treatment. Don’t wait until your condition worsens. Call us today and let us help you get back to the life you love.