Heel pain is a very common complaint and comes in many forms. In severity, it can range from mildly annoying to making it difficult to walk.
Sometimes the pain is worst when you first get out of bed in the morning and then it eases during the day, only to reappear later when you stand after a long rest. Heel pain can go dormant and then flare up when you resume exercising or just go for a walk.
A heel spur can cause some heel pain, although some patients have a heel spur with no symptoms at all. A heel spur is a calcium deposit that slowly grows as a bony protrusion on the bottom of your heel bone. It’s only 1/2″ long at the most but can be painful enough to prevent normal activities like walking. Generally, the heel spur itself isn’t painful, but it causes painful soft tissue injury around it.
Another cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the plantar fascia. This thick tissue runs along the sole of your foot and supports your foot’s arch. When it becomes inflamed it can be very painful to walk, especially at the beginning of the day.
Heel spurs are commonly associated with plantar fasciitis. This means that many people with plantar fasciitis also have heel spurs. However, heel spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain.
Am I at Risk of a Heel Spur?
Heel spurs can be caused by overuse tearing of the membrane covering the heel bone as well as by over-stretching the plantar fascia. Those who are at risk of getting a heel spur include:
- Overweight individuals
- Athletes who run on hard surfaces or participate in sports with running and jumping
- Individuals with high arches or flat feet
- People who stand on hard surfaces for long periods
- Anyone who wears worn-out shoes
- Older individuals where the heel’s protective fat pad has thinned and the plantar fascia tissue has lost flexibility
Treating Heel Spurs
If your heel pain persists after resting and icing your foot, please make an appointment to see us at Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle. We’ll recommend shoes that are sturdier and have more cushioning. We will fit you with custom made orthotics to redistribute pressure on your foot. Stretching exercises can ease tension in the calf and heel and corticosteroid injections will ease painful inflammation.For some patients, surgery is necessary to eliminate pain by releasing the plantar fascia and removing the bone spur.We Can Help Relieve Your Heel PainDr. Lawrence J. Kales, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with heel pain of all kinds. We can quickly diagnose and treat your heel injury to eliminate your pain. Please come in to Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle for an examination – you can request an appointment via the website or call us at our Hudson office at 727 868-2128 or our Spring Hill office at 352 683-5799. Don’t live with heel pain – call us to get help today!