There are many causes of heel pain that can result in excess stress on the heel bone, as well as the attached soft tissues. Often times, pain is due to the biomechanical makeup of a person, but may also result from an injury, wearing poorly constructed footwear, or being overweight.
Heel pain is one of the most common problems affecting the foot and ankle. These include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, and many more. Usually, with rest and conservative treatments, the heel will usually get better on its own without surgery. However, many people ignore the early signs of heel pain and continue participating in activities that may aggravate the issue.
Your podiatrist will offer a treatment plan based on the cause of your heel pain. Generally, a conservative approach will be implemented before surgery is necessary. Conservative treatment measures include inflammatory medications, supporting the arch using taping methods or orthotic devices, stretching, and physical therapy.
Using an orthotic device could effectively treat the majority of heel pain without the need to undergo surgery. Orthotic devices work by correcting any biomechanical misalignment while offering support to the tendons and ligaments in the foot.
Surgery may be necessary to treat chronic heel pain that has not responded to conservative treatment. Surgery typically involves releasing the plantar fascia tissue, or removing a bone spur or bursa. When the plantar fascia is released, the arch of the foot may not function normally and will require additional support. Orthotic devices will be prescribed and should be used to provide extra support and alignment. If the imbalances are not corrected, hammertoes and bunions may develop causing pain and disfigurement.
Your podiatrist will discuss all treatment options with you and come up with a comprehensive plan based on your individual needs. They will make sure you are educated and well-informed about your condition and treatment.