Heel Pain / Heel Spur

English: Footprint on earth... Photograph from...

Pain in the heel area of the foot is one of the most common foot problems. Many people attribute this pain to a ‘heel spur’, or ‘bone spur’ in the foot. The truth is that in most cases, the pain is actually from inflammation around the heel bone, called the calcaneus. The actual inflammation occurs in a strong ligament that helps support the arch of the foot. This ligament is called the ‘fascia’ and when it is inflamed, we call the condition, ‘fasciitis’.

Plantar fasciitis, or an inflammation of the ligament along the bottom of the foot, can occur suddenly and cause debilitating pain. Patient’s usually descirbe having exquisitie pain or tenderness in the heel of their foot when they first get up out of bed or stand up after sitting. The pain usually subsides as one walks around, only to recur the next time one stands up after sitting or sleeping.

The causes of this condition are many. Some of the common causes include being significantly overweight, or, putting more stress on the foot from an increase in exercise, or from walking alot in unsupportive shoes.

If not treated promptly, this condition can rapidly deteriorate and cause daily limping on the painful heel.

Our treatment includes a thorough history and examination, x-rays when needed, and frequently application of an athletic taping to help support the inflamed ligament and use of a pre-fabricated arch support to begin giving you immediate relief.  In some cases we recommend a cortisone injection, although we use them sparingly. The doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication and refer the patient for physical therapy.  In some case, Dr. Friedman will recommend a custom made foot orthotic made from a mold or cast of your foot.

Most patients experience a decrease in symptoms after our in-office treatment together with following the instructions we provide for exercises to be done by you at home.

Dr. Friedman recommends against surgery or other invasive treatment for this condition such as radio-frequency procedures or the injection of platelet derived growth factors.