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Heel Pain

Do you dread the first step out of bed every morning?

Are aching heels keeping you from the things you love to do—whether that’s golfing, hiking, running, hunting, playing sports, or just spending time with the family?

You may have shrugged off the pain in the past—“This is just part of getting older, right?”

Wrong. Feet shouldn’t hurt. Heel pain is not normal. And the professionals at Kalamazoo Podiatry have the tools and training you need to stop hurting, start feeling better, and get back to your favorite activities.

Get Your Free Guide to Understanding Heel and Foot Pain

We are providing this information to you and others in our community who suffer from heel pain because we believe that the more you know about the causes of heel pain and the many ways we are able to treat this condition, the better prepared you will be to make the best possible decisions about your health.

What Causes Heel Pain?

Heel pain is not really a “condition” to be diagnosed. It is a symptom, and it can be associated with several different possible conditions—each of which can have their own set of underlying causes.

Sound confusing? Just think of it this way: In order to help you find the best possible diagnosis and treatment for your heel pain, we need to identify two things: what kind of tissue has been injured, and why.

In terms of the clinical diagnoses, some of the most common heel pain conditions include:

  • Plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia, a tough band of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot, has become stretched or torn near the underside of the heel. Pain tends to be worst right after getting up, either from bed or a long sit.
  • Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon at the back of the heel is strained and suffering from either inflammation, tearing, or degeneration of the tendon fibers.
  • Bursitis. A fluid-filled bursa sac near the back of your heel becomes inflamed. (Bursae are responsible for providing cushioning and lubrication for various joints throughout your body.)
  • Stress fractures. Due to repetitive impact stresses, bones begin to develop hairline cracks that may deepen or expand without rest.
  • Nerve irritation. Nerves responsible for processing sensory information in the feet may become injured, pinched, or otherwise irritated due to injury, inflammation, or compression. Heel pain is one possible symptom.
  • Heel spurs. Extended cases of plantar fasciitis may cause a spur of hard calcium to form on the heel bone. These can be painful on their own (apart from plantar fasciitis) if the spur is pressing on sensitive tissues.
  • Severs Disease. An issue that develops due to differences in physical maturity between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the Achilles tendon

In addition to the diagnosis, we’ll want to establish the root, underlying causes. These, of course, vary from condition to condition (and even between two instances of the same condition), but often include things like:

  • Wearing poor quality shoes, or shoes that are not appropriate for your chosen activity.
  • Overtraining without taking adequate rest, especially if you have a lot of high-impact sports or hobbies that you enjoy (running and jumping sports, for example).
  • Structural defects in your feet, such as having particularly flat feet or high arches.
  • Biomechanical issues with your gait pattern while walking or running.
  • Occupations that require standing or walking for long periods of time—teachers, service workers, factory and warehouse workers, health care professionals, etc.
  • Obesity

What Can I Do About My Heel Pain?

Heel pain should never be ignored. If simple strategies like rest or stretching do not give you the consistent, complete relief you deserve, give us a call. In the vast majority of cases, we can solve the issue on a long-term basis without resorting to surgery.

At Kalamazoo Podiatry, we believe our patients deserve the highest quality care, personalized to their specific needs. What works for one particular person may not be the best choice for another, even if the diagnoses are the same.

We offer a full range of effective treatment options, including some of the most cutting-edge, non-surgical techniques available. While not every person will require an “advanced” solution to their heel pain, having these options available allows us to tackle many of the most stubborn cases of heel pain.

Conventional Treatment Options

The “tried and true” conservative methods are often the first choice for mild-to-moderate cases of heel pain, and may be all that is required. These include, but are not limited to:

  • RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • Arch supports. We carry a selection of high quality prefabricated insoles and heel lifts, and also prescribe state-of-the-art custom orthotics using digital scanning and 3D printing (see more about this below).
  • Night splints to keep your plantar fascia and calves elongated while you sleep.
  • Compression sleeves, taping, and/or braces to further support the arch and heel.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Cortisone injections.

MLS Laser Therapy

This cutting-edge system uses non-invasive laser energy to rapidly reduce pain and stimulate accelerated healing in damaged tissues. This is a great alternative to surgery for severe heel pain, and also a great option for athletes and active, busy individuals who simply need to return to full speed as quickly as possible.

Click here to learn more about MLS laser therapy

Go 4-D Custom Orthotics

Digital scanning, 3D printing, and new medical knowledge about foot and ankle biomechanics have allowed us to make custom orthotics that are significantly more precise, effective, flexible, and comfortable than ever before. Pinpoint-precise gait scanning data allows us to algorithmically design orthotics that provide you with exactly the support your arches need at every point along the entire gait cycle, not just when standing. This means supreme comfort and much higher overall success rates than conventional custom orthotics.

Click here to learn more about Go 4-D custom orthotics

Regenerative Injection Therapy

Some forms of heel pain, particularly those related to tendon or joint pain, may benefit from an injection of natural biomolecular material designed to accelerate the tissue healing process. Unlike cortisone injections, regenerative injections don’t just reduce painful symptoms, but actually help soft tissues that have become inflamed, damaged, or degraded repair themselves.

Click here to learn more about regenerative injection therapy

MLS Laser Therapy

This cutting-edge system uses non-invasive laser energy to rapidly reduce pain and stimulate accelerated healing in damaged tissues. This is a great alternative to surgery for severe heel pain, and also a great option for athletes and active, busy individuals who simply need to return to full speed as quickly as possible.

Click here to learn more about MLS laser therapy

Go 4-D Custom Orthotics

Digital scanning, 3D printing, and new medical knowledge about foot and ankle biomechanics have allowed us to make custom orthotics that are significantly more precise, effective, flexible, and comfortable than ever before. Pinpoint-precise gait scanning data allows us to algorithmically design orthotics that provide you with exactly the support your arches need at every point along the entire gait cycle, not just when standing. This means supreme comfort and much higher overall success rates than conventional custom orthotics.

Click here to learn more about Go 4-D custom orthotics

Regenerative Injection Therapy

Some forms of heel pain, particularly those related to tendon or joint pain, may benefit from an injection of natural biomolecular material designed to accelerate the tissue healing process. Unlike cortisone injections, regenerative injections don’t just reduce painful symptoms, but actually help soft tissues that have become inflamed, damaged, or degraded repair themselves.

Learn more about regenerative injection therapy

Get Help!

So, as you can see, we have a lot of effective treatment options to help you get better—and we’ll always take as much time as necessary to give you expert medical advice, explain your options and work alongside you to personalize the treatment plan that’s right for you.

Repeat it with us: heel pain is not normal! If painful heels won’t go away no matter what you do, give us a call so we can help take away your pain. You can reach our Kalamazoo office at (269) 373-1019.

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