About two million Americans visit the doctor each year due to heel pain. Though common, without early intervention, heel pain can result in immobility or disability, preventing you from work, exercise, or other routine activities. At North Texas Foot & Ankle, with locations in Dallas and Garland, Texas, board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Matthew Hausenfluke, DPM, provides safe, effective treatment for heel pain. To schedule an appointment, call the office nearest you, or book online today.
Heel pain is a common problem that causes aching, burning, or swelling at the very back of the foot. Some people experience mild heel pain that resolves with rest and ice, while others experience severe pain that makes it difficult to stand up, walk around, or perform routine tasks.
At North Texas Foot & Ankle, Dr. Hausenfluke diagnoses and treats heel pain caused by:
Heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the underside of your heel bone. They occur due to excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments in the foot. Some of the most common causes of heel spurs include being overweight, wearing ill-fitting shoes, and participating in high-impact activities.
Plantar fasciitis is a wear-and-tear injury that causes your plantar fascia –– a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs from your heels to your toes –– to become irritated and inflamed. It occurs when small tears form in the plantar fascia. Over time, these tears become inflamed, resulting in discomfort and irritation.
Anyone can experience plantar fasciitis, but it’s especially common in middle-aged individuals as well as athletes who do lots of running and jumping.
Pronation is the normal motion your feet make whenever you take a step. It causes your arch to flatten, allowing you to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock while walking. Excessive pronation pulls on the ligaments and tendons at the bottom back of your heel bone.
Excessive pronation increases your risk of heel injuries and makes you more susceptible to hip, knee, and lower back pain.
Heel pain can also occur due to underlying medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, bone bruises, and Haglund’s deformity. By treating the underlying cause of your heel pain, Dr. Hausenfluke can minimize discomfort while restoring your mobility.
To diagnose the reason you experience heel pain, Dr. Hausenfluke physically examines your feet, heels, and ankles, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. He also has you rate your pain on a scale of 1-10 and asks you to perform a series of strength and range-of-motion exercises.
Dr. Hausenfluke might also order a diagnostic ultrasound or X-rays. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to take detailed images of the soft tissues that make up your foot and heel.
Treatment for heel pain depends on the underlying cause and severity of your symptoms. At first, Dr. Hausenfluke typically recommends conservative measures like anti-inflammatory medication, exercise or shoe recommendations, taping and strapping, custom orthotics, or Superfeet® insoles.
If your heel pain persists, you might benefit from CO2 laser or physical therapy. CO2 laser therapy is a minimally invasive treatment that targets low-level laser energy at soft structures in your foot. The process encourages circulation, eases inflammation, and triggers your body’s natural healing process.
If your heel pain is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. Dr. Hausenfluke might recommend releasing the plantar fascia, removing a bone spur, or removing a soft-tissue growth.
If heel pain is negatively affecting your quality of life, schedule an appointment at North Texas Foot & Ankle by booking online or calling the office nearest you.