Posts for category: Heel Pain
Struggling with heel pain? Here at Oakton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dharia proudly provide patients with quality foot care, including the diagnosis and treatment of painful conditions. Read on to learn how they can help you too.
More about Heel Pain
Heel pain may be the result of a number of conditions, including a stress fracture, nerve irritation, tendonitis, arthritis, or a cyst. However, the most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, a condition in which the plantar fascia (a band of connective tissue that extends from the heel to the toes) becomes inflamed.
Some causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- Faulty structure of the foot, such as overly flat feet or high-arched feet
- Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces
- Certain occupations that require standing for long periods of time
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the heel and in the foot arch. People may also feel pain worsening over a period of months and swelling on the bottom of the heel. Pain is usually the worst in the morning, just after getting out of bed.
Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dhari diagnose plantar fasciitis with the use of medical history and examining your foot. Additionally, X-ray screenings or other imaging modalities are used to figure out what exactly could be the root of the problem.
Your Fairfax podiatrist will opt for non-surgical treatments first. That includes stretching exercises, avoiding barefoot movement, icing your heel for 20 minutes several times a day, cutting down on extended physical activities, choosing more appropriate shoes, and using oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
Your doctor may also suggest orthotic devices. Orthotics are custom shoe inserts that optimize foot function. Some examples of orthotics include:
- Rigid orthotics, which control motion in two major foot joints
- Semirigid orthotics, which provide dynamic balance to the foot while walking or participating in sports
- Soft orthotic devices, which help absorb shock, increase balance, and take the pressure off of sore spots
Other Non-Surgical Treatment Options Include:
- Padding, taping and strapping
- Injection therapy
- Removable walking cast
- Night splint
- Physical therapy
Need Relief? Give Us a Call
If you'd like to speak with Drs. Steven Vetter or Jugal Dharia of Oakton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, about heel pain, dial (703) 352-8888 today.
Heel pain is particularly irritating for athletes who depend on a healthy body to train for or participate in their sport. Don’t let heel pain sideline your workout. Let your Fairfax, VA podiatrist Dr. Steven R. Vetter, DPM help you keep your feet and ankles healthy so you do not miss a single set.
What causes heel pain?
While one of the most common causes of heel pain is simple overuse, there are other common conditions and situations which cause your feet to hurt. These include:
- bone spur
- plantar fasciitis
- damage to the heel pads
- tarsal tunnel syndrome
- stress fractures
- pinched nerves
How is heel pain treated?
Treatment for heel pain depends on many factors, including the severity of the pain, the underlying conditions and the patients themselves. Often, at-home treatment for heel pain does enough to allow the body to heal itself over time. Icing the foot several times a day in 15-minute intervals helps relieve swelling. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen help relieve pain. Additionally, simply staying off of your foot and resting while it heals helps tremendously. However, sometimes at-home treatment is just not enough. Your Fairfax doctor can help you determine the best treatment plan for your situation.
How can my podiatrist help?
Your podiatrist starts with a physical examination at which he will gather information on your medical and family history. MRIs and x-rays help your doctor see inside of your foot to visually see any abnormalities or problems with your muscles, tendons or bones. Since the cause of heel pain may be difficult to pinpoint, it is helpful to keep a log of your heel pain leading up to your appointment. Include the level of pain, when it occurs, what helps or makes it worse and how long it lasts. Additionally, try to describe what kind of pain you have (aching, stabbing, radiating, etc.).
Your doctor might prescribe physical therapy to help rebuild damaged muscles or improve range of motion. You might also have to wear a custom orthotic, which fits inside of your shoe to correct the distribution of your body weight or gait. Some severe cases may require surgery.
For more information on heel pain, please contact Dr. Steven R. Vetter, DPM at Oakton Foot and Ankle in Fairfax, VA. Call (703) 352-8888 to schedule your appointment today!
Bone spurs, clinically known as osteophytes, are calcium deposits that develop on otherwise normal bone due to constant pressure. When the form on the heel, we unsurprisingly refer to them as 'heel spurs.' The spurs sometimes go undetected as long as they are painless, but pain, tingling and swelling can occur if they grow large enough to interfere with nearby tissues, nerves or tendons. Painful heel spurs sometimes form as a result of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligament that stretches between the heel bone and the ball of the foot.
Dr. Steven Vetter, your podiatrist located in Fairfax, Virginia at Oakton Foot & Ankle Center, can help alleviate your heel spur pain.
What does heel spur pain feel like?
Heel spur pain may be intermittent - an occasional pain associated with walking or running - or it may be chronic, which means it is constant. Many of your Fairfax podiatrist's patients describe the pain as a sharp, knife-like pain that they feel when they first get up out of bed in the morning or after standing after sitting for a while. This pain gradually eases to a dull but noticeable ache.
How can heel spurs be treated?
It may seem like rest is the most obvious solution when dealing with heel spurs, but Dr. Vetter, your podiatrist in Fairfax, actually cautions against too much time off your feet, especially if your heel spurs are associated with plantar fasciitis. When the ligament stretches after long periods of rest, it can actually feel worse. For this reason, Dr. Steven Vetter has a series of stretching exercises that he recommends to his Fairfax podiatry patients. He may also recommend specialized shoes or shoe inserts to help support the feet. Since it's estimated that 90 percent of those who deal with heel spurs will recover, surgery is not common and is only for those who do not respond well to conservative treatments within a year's time.
If you've had recurrent heel pain, don't delay in contacting the podiatry staff at Oakton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax for a thorough evaluation.
Whether your heel pain is mild or severe, chances are that you want it to go away immediately so you can continue on with your day-to-day activities. After all, no one should have to go through life in pain. If you are currently suffering from heel pain, here are the top five strategies Steven R. Vetter, D.P.M. at Oakton Foot and Ankle in Fairfax commonly recommends.
1. Identify the Cause of the Pain
Have you been exercising more frequently than usual lately? Have you been wearing uncomfortable shoes? Are you carrying around extra weight due to a pregnancy? While figuring out the exact cause yourself might not always be possible, identifying it will help you determine what to do about it.
2. Wear More Comfortable Shoes
One of the most common causes of heel pain in Fairfax is wearing impractical shoes. Whether your shoes are too tight, too old or too high, all of these factors can easily lead to pain. Try switching to more comfortable shoes to see if that helps.
If you suspect that your heel pain is due to your sports or exercise routine, then stretching can work wonders towards relieving your heel pain. Heel stretches are very simple to do; you just have to remember to do them every time you exercise or whenever your heels begin to hurt.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are several pounds over your ideal weight, your excess weight may be to blame. Carrying around extra pounds can be very tiring for your feet, which have to support all the extra weight. If this is the case, a healthy diet and an appropriate exercise routine can really help.
Lastly, heel pain is also commonly caused by long periods of standing on hard surfaces. If your job requires you to stand for long periods of time each day, wear comfortable shoes, purchase a special standing mat and rest whenever possible. The pain may just go away on its own.
While these five suggestions can help the majority of Fairfax residents to overcome their moderate heel pain, if your heel pain is severe or if it refuses to go away, it is probably time to see the doctor. Call Oakton Foot and Ankle in Fairfax and schedule an appointment with Dr. Vetter today. Your feet will thank you for it!