Aching, painful heels are a major source of frustration for millions. Whether the primary pain is burning, stabbing, pounding, or just a consistent dull ache, heel pain limits your ability to go about your daily routine and engage in activities you once enjoyed.
You can get that life back! Heel pain does not have to be permanent, and treatment usually isn’t invasive or even all that complicated. The professionals at Wilks Advanced Foot Care can diagnose your condition and provide a treatment course that makes sense for your lifestyle.
Heel Pain Treatments
Every foot is different. At the Wilks Advanced Foot Care, you’ll get individual attention and a personalized treatment plan geared toward your specific condition and specific needs.
If your heel pain is still relatively minor, or you’ve only been suffering for a few days, you can try home care methods first. Taking a few rest days, avoiding strenuous physical activity, and using ice and over-the-counter painkillers may be enough to resolve the pain. However, if pain persists or frequently recurs, it’s time to make a wise investment in your quality of life.
Orthotics are one of the most versatile and effective tools in our arsenal against heel pain. Many cases of aching heels are related to a biomechanical issue. The correct orthotic device provides just the right amount of cushioning, support, or even movement control to compensate for these biomechanical inefficiencies and deflect pain and pressure away from the heel.
How do you choose the right orthotic? Pharmacy shelves are crammed with insoles, each boasting about their supposed technological superiority, but the wrong one isn’t going to help you. At the Wilks Advanced Foot Care, we take an evidence-based approach to orthotics. We provide a selection of the best prefabricated insoles, as well as prescribe custom orthotics that are created from a mold to fit your foot shape exactly. We’ll help you find exactly the right device you need for your condition and budget.
Therapeutic Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is an exciting new treatment method for pain and inflammation, including heel pain conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. The MLS Laser system uses beams of light tuned to specific wavelengths that safely and non-invasively penetrate body tissues to relieve pain, fight inflammation, and stimulate the body’s healing response. This is a great option for many sufferers of acute or chronic pain in their heels.
In addition to home care, orthotics, and laser therapy, a wide variety of other treatment options may be prescribed or recommended—it all depends on your situation. These can include simple lifestyle or behavior modifications, such as buying a new pair of shoes or changing your exercise routine to include more low-impact activities. We might also recommend certain stretches and physical therapy exercises, as well.
In extremely rare cases, you might need a surgery to correct an underlying deformity or other problem. However, we consider surgery a last resort. We’ll always strive to relieve pain conservatively first, and when necessary perform surgery using methods that are as minimally invasive as possible.
Causes of Heel Pain
Heel pain can be caused by many different conditions. The ones we see most frequently are:
- Plantar fasciitis. This is the most common cause of heel pain in adults. A band of tissue known as the plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot and across the arch. That tissue can begin to stretch and tear due to repetitive stresses. Plantar fasciitis pain is often worst in the early morning with the first few steps of the day.
- Achilles tendinitis. Just as repetitive stresses can wear down the plantar fascia, they can also lead to inflammation and damage to the Achilles, also known as the heel cord. In this case pain is located at the back of the heel, rather than underneath.
- Sever’s disease. This condition, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is the most common cause of heel pain in adolescents, often aged 8-13. This is a “growing pain” caused by tight muscles and tendons pulling on the exposed growth plate of the heel.
Many different heel pain conditions share a common set of underlying causes or risk factors. These can include:
- Participation in high-impact activities, such as running
- Occupations or hobbies that keep you on your feet most of the day
- Inherited foot and leg structures, such as flat feet or tight calves
- Frequently wearing poor footwear, such as high heels or sneakers that don’t fit properly or provide enough cushioning