Heel Pain is most commonly related to plantar fasciitis. Before, we used to call plantar fasciitis heel spur syndrome. More than 2 million Americans seek medical treatment for this condition each year. The severity can range from a mild annoyance to severe pain and limitation.
Strain and thickening of the plantar fascia causes Plantar Fasciitis. The plantar fascia a ligament-like structure made up of 3 bands that run from the heel to the forefoot. Numerous causes can result in strain of this structure. This includes excessive pronation during walking or running, strenuous activities/sports, standing on hard surfaces, lack of adequate shoe support, etc.
Treatment for Heel Spur Syndrome also known as Plantar Fasciitis
Conservative measures such as anti-inflammatory injections, physical therapy and home stretching techniques, night splint application, shoe modifications, and external arch support devices can typically control and resolve the condition. When these treatments fail and pain remains limiting to activities, however, more advanced treatments must be employed. These advanced treatments include custom functional orthotics, endoscopic plantar fasciotomy, and Extracorpreal Shockwave Treatment.
Custom Functional Orthotics are prescription devices. Your physician makes the device after obtaining molds of your feet in a specific position, and after carefully reviewing your foot function and x-ray evaluation. When over the counter arch supports fail to resolve the condition, custom orthotics become an excellent resource. These devices are much stronger than OTC devices. They are also made specifically for your feet…much like a prescription pair of eyeglasses. They are able to control your foot function and often times support the plantar fascia, allowing it to avoid stress and strain. Therefore, patients wearing custom orthotics have a significantly less chance of the condition recurring. Our staff and physicians are all certified in the most up-to-date methods of obtaining your foot impressions for the best results possible.
Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy
Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy has truly revolutionized the surgical approach to heel spur syndrome and plantar fasciitis. A podiatrist can perform this procedure in approximately 10 minutes at an outpatient surgical center or hospital. The procedure involves placing a small camera into the bottom of the heel through a very small incision. Next, the podiatrist makes another small incision and inserts a probe allowing manipulation of the plantar fascia. You can easily see the plantar fascia with the camera, which greatly reduces the risk of complications.
The patient is able to bear weight and walk the same day using a special medical shoe. Typically the patient will spend approximately 3 to 4 weeks in this special surgical shoe before returning to normal shoes. All of our physicians and surgeons here at FHA have training in this advanced procedure, and can discuss this procedure in detail to determine if you are a candidate and also further discuss recovery and potential complications with you.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
An alternative to surgical intervention is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy or ESWT. This novel treatment employs high frequency ultrasound directed at the plantar fascia. This ultrasound procedure creates a “good” type of inflammation in the target tissue which creates new blood flow and encourages the body to help heal the damaged fascia. The procedure is performed in the office setting and under local anesthesia for your comfort. The procedure takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. There is no need for an incision, and the patient can typically walk out in their regular shoes. The procedure requires avoiding anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin until instructed by your physician. Using these medications can reduce some of the benefit by the ESWT.
Where to Receive Treatment
If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in their heel, there are many treatments available to help resolve it. Our physicians are dedicated to stopping this condition and can work out a specific treatment plan for you.