When it comes to foot and ankle care, one of the most common problems people experience is heel pain. If you know a bit about foot anatomy and the amount of pressure and force we place upon our lower limbs, this makes complete sense.
With regards to foot anatomy, a major contributing factor to many cases of heel pain stems from the fact that two very important connective tissues are anchored to the calcaneus (heel bone). The Achilles tendon connects the back of the heel bone to the bottom of the calf muscle (so you can move your foot up and down). The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting the back and front to support your arches.
Both of those connective tissues are used with every step you take. The average person takes approximately 10,000 steps in an average day, so that’s already a lot of motion for those tissues, but there’s more:
The amount of force put on a landing foot can be as much as two times your bodyweight.
With all that cumulative force being placed on essential tissues, it’s only natural that problems are bound to develop. Accordingly, we treat many patients from our greater Nassau County community for heel pain. And when we do, we are proud to offer an array of treatment options.
As a starting point, your customized treatment plan may include time-proven options such as RICE therapy and NSAIDs.
Used in this context, RICE isn’t a grain, but rather an acronym standing for “rest, ice, compression, and elevation.” These respective RICE components are intended to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and give your body some time to initiate and perform natural healing processes.
If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym NSAIDs, we are simply talking about “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.” In this category, you will find medications that can be purchased over the counter, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, and others that are prescribed, such as celecoxib (you likely know this better by its brand name—Celebrex).
The Orthotic Advantage
If you’re interested in conservative treatment options, one that can be particularly effective is orthotic therapy.
In this case, we have likely determined the root cause of your heel pain to be biomechanical in issue—possibly one resulting from inherited foot structure or injury from physical trauma. No matter why it happens, something isn’t quite right with how your foot moves and too much force is being placed in areas not intended to absorb it.
This may sound like a hopeless problem. After all, you aren’t giving much (if any) conscious thought to how your feet move when you walk.
Fortunately, we have a highly-effective solution to the problem—custom orthotics.
If this is part of your treatment plan, you will be prescribed a pair of orthotics. These are medical devices that fit inside your shoes and modify the way your feet move, so they can work in more natural, efficient manner.
This is important to note:
Custom orthotics are not the same thing as shoe inserts you can purchase off the shelves at retail stores and nationwide pharmacy chains.
Those inserts may provide a little extra cushioning but are not intended to treat a medical issue like heel pain. How could they? Their manufacturers have no idea what is happening with your unique feet!
When we prescribe orthotics, they are customized to work with your unique foot structure and gait pattern—and that is why this is an effective treatment for many patients.
Advanced, State-of-the-Art Heel Pain Treatment
At Massapequa Podiatry Associates, we are committed to staying current in new and advanced podiatric tools and techniques—so you and your loved ones can receive the best possible care!
What does that look like when it comes to heel pain treatment?
Well, it means we utilize a variety of advanced technologies, including:
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) – As we’ve noted, a major contributing factor to heel pain is related to the soft tissues that anchor to the calcaneus. One of the most effective modern treatment options for soft tissue injury is ESWT. With this technology, powerful acoustic waves (shockwaves) are directed at the site of injury, where they stimulate and accelerate natural healing processes. The shockwaves both reduce inflammation and increase blood flow and this combination contributes to quicker recovery.
- Tenex® – This technology consists of a thin, needle-like apparatus being inserted into an injury site via a tiny incision, which then vibrates at an ultrasound frequency. The incredibly fast vibrations safely break down and remove damaged tissue, allowing new, healthy tissue to take its place.
- Amniovo® – Amniotic membrane grafts have been used in a variety of medical fields for some time. Now we have a new iteration of amniotic treatment that can help treat heal pain. Whereas other amniotic treatments utilize a wrap or graft placed on the surface level, Amniovo is an injectable material derived from amniotic tissues. The reason these tissues are used is because they are rich in regenerative growth factors. They boost your body’s natural healing processes and lead to quicker recovery. As with every treatment we offer, this product is safe and approved to be used for medical purposes—like treating stubborn cases of heel pain.
Dr. Corey Fox has been helping patients overcome their heel pain issues for more than 20 years—and he can do the same for you!
There’s no reason to keep suffering, and the earlier you seek help, the more likely that gentle, conservative treatments will get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle. To schedule an appointment at our Massapequa, NY office, dial 516-541-9000 today. You can also book online.