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There are numerous causes for heel pain, including arthritis, stress fractures and nerve irritation. The two most common contributors of chronic pain are heel spurs and inflammation of the plantar fascia—a ligament attached to the heel bone that helps maintain the foot’s arch. In plantar fasciitis, there are microscopic tears on the ligament. These occur when individuals spend hours on their feet without support. Patients suffering from the problem tend to experience pain when they wake up in the morning. Pain may subside as walking stretches the fascia, but returns and intensifies during the day with activity.
Faulty structure of the foot is the most common cause of chronic heel pain. Individuals who put abnormal strain on their feet, struggle with obesity, or wear non-supportive footwear, especially on hard, flat surfaces, are more susceptible to developing heel pain. Wearing supportive shoes, and reducing body weight will help alleviate added stress on the heels.
The main symptom of chronic heel pain is a discomfort that resides on the bottom of the heel and in the arch of the foot, which escalates upon arising and worsens over an extended period of time. Extended periods of inactivity, including waking in the morning or sitting for an extended period of time, increases heel pain. When the heel has been inactive, stiffness in the heel occurs along with heel pain.
Though plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis for heel pain, there are still several potential conditions that may cause this condition. It is important to have one of our physicians properly evaluate and examine your heel to determine the true underlying source behind your chronic heel pain. In doing so, our team can offer the best treatment approach for you.
Our expert foot and ankle doctors provide innovative nonsurgical options to alleviate chronic heel pain and restore full range of motion. The following may be recommended:
In rare cases when nonsurgical treatments are ineffective, our foot and ankle experts may suggest performing surgery to relieve heel pain. In cases of plantar fasciitis, specifically, the goal is to release tension in the plantar fascia ligament.