Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain

Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain Specialist
Heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis or another chronic condition can cause pain for many people. At the European Foot and Ankle Clinic, Dr. Podolskiy and Dr. Goshko offer patients from in and around Chicago, Illinois several treatment options such as custom orthotics and Traumeel injections. Offices are conveniently located on South Michigan Avenue, Oak Street, and West Chicago Ave, as well as six other locations.

Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain

What causes heel pain?

Heel pain is commonly the result of a condition referred to as plantar fasciitis which is also known as heel spur syndrome. Additional factors can cause heel pain as well including arthritis, nerve irritation, tendonitis, a stress fracture, loss of fat in the heel, bursitis, or very occasionally a cyst. To identify the underlying cause, the podiatric physician will assess the foot and ankle thoroughly. Most conditions can be treated with at-home strategies such as stretching, splints, and icing as well as using padding, orthotics, walking casts, certain medications such as anti-inflammatories, and possible injections. Avoiding going barefoot and wearing the appropriate shoes can also help greatly. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition which occurs when the plantar fascia, a strong band of connective tissue which goes from the bottom of the foot to the heel, becomes swollen and aggravated. Pain is usually felt along the underside of the foot and is worse in the morning and following periods of continued sitting. The discomfort and stiffness can seem to go away after the foot is used. However, it comes back after another round of inactivity. Plantar fasciitis can be addressed with gentle stretching exercises and massage to relieve swelling and increase flexibility and strength in the ligament itself. In some instances, injections of anti-inflammatory medications into the ligament can be prescribed when stretching, and massage do not provide relief.

How is heel pain treated?

Treatment will usually start with physical therapy and at-home strategies. Options will include:

  • Avoid being barefoot- this can relieve pressure and strain on the ligament
  • Icing- employ an ice pack for 20 minutes 3-4 times a day to reduce swelling
  • Shoe modifications- wear shoes with optimal arch support and a slightly raised heel
  • Limit specific activities- minimize activities which can strain the fascia
  • Medications- NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can minimize swelling and pain as well
  • Padding- pads in shoes and straps can support the ankle can lessen strain
  • Orthotic devices- custom devices can correct structural issues
  • Splints- wearing a splint while sleeping can maintain a stretch over the course of the night and lessen morning pain
  • Walking cast- a cast can keep the foot immobile for a while to allow it heal
  • Injections- corticosteroid injections can reduce pain and inflammation
  • Surgery can be used to repair a bone growth if one is present.
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