Did you know that about 6 in 10 Americans experience heel pain on a regular basis? Heel pain can occur due to change in activity, lack of stretching, poorly fitting shoes, staying on your feet for too long, general wear-and-tear or excess weight. Board certified foot and rear foot surgeon Michael Howell, DPM, has years of experience diagnosing and treating heel pain. To schedule your appointment at the Coldwater, Michigan office, call today.

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What is heel pain?

Heel pain causes discomfort, swelling, or sensitivity at the bottom of your foot, directly beneath the heel bone. In some cases, the pain also spreads to the back or sides of the heel.

Heel pain varies in severity and depends on the underlying cause. If you experience heel pain that lasts for days or weeks at a time, and it doesn’t respond to conservative treatments like rest, ice, or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, don’t wait to seek professional help.

What are the symptoms of heel pain?

The symptoms of heel pain vary and depend on the underlying cause. Quite commonly, many people with heel pain experience more severe symptoms in the morning, shortly after getting out of bed or after sitting for long periods and then getting up. It’s also common for heel pain to improve with light physical activity, like walking or jogging.

What are some common causes of heel pain?

Heel pain occurs for a variety of reasons. Heel pain can also develop due to an underlying health problem. Dr. Howell regularly treats heel pain caused by:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heel bursitis
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Stress fractures
  • Sever's disease
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Achilles tendonosis

You might also experience heel pain due to a bone cyst or arthritis.

How is heel pain diagnosed?

To diagnose heel pain, Dr. Howell examines your foot and asks about your pain. He also asks you about your lifestyle and daily habits, including the type of shoes you wear, if you stay on your feet at work, and how much exercise you participate in.

Next, Dr. Howell will palpate your heel and observes your gait and posture. If necessary, he might also order laboratory tests or an X-ray to pinpoint the source of your discomfort.

How is heel pain treated?

Treatment of heel pain depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. For the most common causes of heel pain, including plantar fasciitis, Dr. Howell may initially recommend conservative treatments like stretching, physical therapy, NSAIDs, and custom orthotics.

If your pain persists, you might benefit from pain medications like corticosteroid injections or offloading in a walking boot.

In a percentage of patients, they do not improve significantly with conservative measures, and may be a candidate for surgical intervention to improve their pain.

Don’t let heel pain prevent you from living an active, healthy lifestyle. Schedule your appointment with Michael Howell, DPM, at his office in Coldwater, MI. Call the office today.