We are proud to offer laser therapy and shock wave therapy to help with heel pain. Painful heels and arches can occur in both youngsters and adults, and it can be for very different reasons. In the younger population (like 8 – 15 years old) it is often due to an inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone (calcaneus) or Calcaneal Apophysitis, and is often associated with athletics.
While there can be many reasons for heel pain in adults including Achilles tendinitis, systemic diseases (i.e. certain arthritic conditions), pinched nerves (Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome) and stress fracture; the usual reason the bottom of the heel hurts is what’s commonly referred to as Heel Spur Syndrome. This pain is usually worse when just out of bed in the morning or after periods of rest and reduces as you walk and the tissue stretches. More specifically it is an inflammation of a band of tissue that runs from the base of the toes down the arch to insert in the heel (calcaneus): the plantar fascia. Hence the term plantar fasciitis – inflammation (‘itis’) of the plantar fascia. The foot functions as an arch and the plantar fascia as a major supporting structure. As you walk your foot rolls in – pronates – and the arch flattens. If this happens more than ‘normal’- over pronation – the tissue is placed under a great deal of tension, causing inflammation over time where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. Continued pulling of the fascia against the heel bone can develop an actual heel spur, although it is not uncommon to have a heel spur and absolutely no pain.
Plantar fasciitis is often successfully treated with conservative measures, such as the use of anti-inflammatory medications (oral or injectable), ice packs, exercises to stretch the calf and fascia, orthotic devices, and physical therapy. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications. In persistent cases, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT) may be useful in treating the heel pain. As a last resort in severe cases surgical management, which is often done endoscopically, may be considered. If you have persistent heel pain please call for a consult.