Heel pain is more common than you might think. Approximately 10 percent of the American population will experience it, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal. The problem with heel pain is that it can often prevent you away from engaging in your favorite activities or prevent you from being able to enjoy life to the fullest.
Hoping your heel pain will go away on its own or ignoring it won't solve the problem. Very much on the contrary—leaving the problem unaddressed will most likely make the situation worse.
But there is good news:
There are many conservative treatment methods that will not only relieve your painful symptoms, but also eradicate the condition altogether! (Keep in mind that the earlier you seek appropriate care, the better the chances of getting relief from non-invasive treatment methods.)
So, don’t wait to get the help you need. Dr. Corey Fox can get you back on your feet in a way you may have never thought possible—without heel pain.
Why Do Your Heels Hurt?
When it comes to heel pain for adults, the leading culprit is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This condition causes sharp pain in the bottom of the heel (usually when taking the first steps in the morning or once standing after an extended period of sitting).
Why does this happen?
Well, to answer that question, let’s start by answering a different one first—what is the plantar fascia?
Your plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band of tissue running lengthwise along the bottom of your foot and connecting the heel bone (calcaneus) to the ball of the foot.
This particular fascia is incredibly important. It stretches when you stand and builds up kinetic energy to propel you into your next step when you walk or run. Additionally, your plantar fascia supports your foot arch, creating stability and aiding in proper foot function throughout the entire gait cycle.
All of this means that your plantar fascia must both stretch AND support at the same time. As a result, sometimes the fascia tissue can be overstretched and sustain microscopic tears – resulting in irritation, inflammation, and degeneration (plantar fasciitis).
Treating Plantar Fasciitis with Non-Surgical Methods
Treatment for plantar fasciitis can be either conservative or surgical in nature. The course Dr. Fox recommends for your case will depend on an array of factors. He will typically use diagnostic imaging such as x-rays and ultrasound to get a better idea as to the extent of the damage to the tissue. Based on this information, Dr. Fox can predict how likely you are to respond to conservative vs. surgical treatment plans.
When non-surgical care is recommended, it is important to keep in mind that all options have various degrees of success and failure. That being said, a majority of patients will find success with treatments such as:
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (the most advanced of non-invasive, conservative treatment options)
- K-Laser Therapy
- Night splints
- Custom orthotics
- Stretching exercises
- RICE therapy
- Tape immobilization
- Physical therapy
- OTC pain/anti-inflammatory medications
Typically, patients will respond well to non-surgical treatments methods when attempting to address plantar fasciitis symptoms. However, the key for success when using these methods is to seek professional care as soon as you notice something is wrong.
In the event that your condition has become more severe, Dr. Fox may recommend other in-office approaches.
Cortisone Injections (and Other Injection Therapies) for Plantar Fasciitis
Whereas cortisone shots are nonsurgical in nature, any type of injection is considered invasive and has varying degrees of success.
Dr. Fox believes a single cortisone shot can often be beneficial. A single injection can be used as a diagnostic aide as well (when this relieves symptoms, it’s more likely that the problem is in fact plantar fasciitis).
In addition to cortisone shots, other possible injection therapies include:
- PRP (platelet-rich plasma)
- BMAC (bone marrow aspirate concentrate)
- Amniotic/placental stem cell allografts
- Naturopathic/Homeopathic preparations (usually containing Arnica)
- Alcohol injections
Although these treatment methods are invasive in nature, patients are able to walk right immediately following administration of an injection. The benefits of injections in the office are fast and easy recovery in order to address your condition.
When is Surgery Needed?
The short answer is: Very rarely do we perform surgery in order to treat plantar fasciitis. More often than not, non-invasive, conservative approaches provide the pain relief you need to eliminate your heel pain.
Dr. Fox will exhaust all other treatment methods available before considering surgery (this is always a last resort). However, if your condition does not respond well to these conservative methods, rest assured that Dr. Fox will provide you with all the information you need so that you can move forward with surgery, feeling confident in your decision.
Our surgical treatment of choice at Massapequa Podiatry Associates is UltraSound-Guided Percutaneous Partial Plantar Fasciectomy (USGPPF).
In this procedure, small amounts of degenerated tissue are removed from the plantar fascia through a small incision on the inside of the heel. This is performed while being visualized with ultrasound technology in real time.
After adequate removal of damaged tissue, platelet-rich plasma or amniotic stem cells are injected into the area. Recovery is very quick, with little restriction needing to be placed on normal activities. The plantar fascia ligament is preserved in its natural length and the mechanical function of the foot is not altered.
Find Relief from Your Heel Pain at Massapequa Podiatry Associates Today!
Don’t let heel pain get in the way of living your best life! Instead, let Dr. Fox and his team help you overcome painful symptoms and find the relief you deserve.
For more information—or to request an appointment—simply give us a call at (516) 541-9000. You can also take advantage of our request form online to have one of our staff members reach out to you.