Heel Pain In The Runner. Don't Let It Slow You Down

Heel Pain Treatment in Myrtle Beach, SC

Heel pain in active adults is most commonly related to having “the worse pain levels when walking first thing in the morning or after long periods of sitting.”   It is essential to quickly care for and treat heel pain to avoid further misalignments and complications.  While several factors may be in play when it comes to heel pain, they can only be correctly diagnosed by a foot and ankle specialist. Runners with heel pain typically complain of arch pain, pain on the bottom of the heel, swelling on the bottom of the heel, and sometimes even bruising if symptoms are severe.  If arch pain persists beyond a few days, treatment is needed to prevent the condition from becoming worse.

Heel Pain Causes

The most common cause of heel pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis.  Plantar fasciitis occurs secondary to one wearing non-supportive footwear on hard surfaces, overuse/increased activity, improper training habits, and even possibly a faulty foot structure (flatfeet).  Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain. 

 

Another cause of heel pain commonly seen in runners is a calcaneal stress fracture.  If not treated appropriately prolonged symptoms of heel pain (generalized pain in the heel area that develops slowly (over several days to weeks)) will be experienced, including noticeable redness, swelling, and bruising to the areas of the heel bone. 

Heel Pain | Causes, Types and Podiatry Treatment

Treatment for Heel Pain

Treatment efforts for plantar fasciitis such as stretching, limiting activity, shoe modifications/orthotics, oral medications/steroid injections, night splints, taping/strapping, physical therapy, stretching exercises (plantar fascia/Achilles tendon), and simply avoiding barefoot walking can all help relieve pain symptoms.  Although a relatively small amount of patients will require surgical intervention, your foot and ankle surgeon can discuss the most appropriate surgical treatment if necessary.  Surgical treatment for chronic cases includes percutaneous Platelet Rich Plasma injections, Topaz Coblation therapy, extra corporal shockwave therapy, and endoscopic plantar fasciotomies. 

If diagnosed with a stress fracture of the heel bone, treatment will include rest and immobilization of the affected foot.  Stress fractures in the heel bone occur mostly due to overuse injuries or an underlying issue related to bone quality/bone mass (osteoporosis).  A foot and ankle specialists can utilize diagnostic imaging to appropriately diagnose and treat the stress fracture.  In some cases, surgery may be required to stabilize the stress fracture or to repair a stress fracture that has progressed to a complete bone fracture.

To prevent heel pain, it's key for active individuals to run on soft surfaces, keep mileage increases to less than 10 percent per week, and wear the proper shoes for your foot type and gait.

If you're experiencing heel pain, schedule an appointment today at 843-449-3668 or click here