If you are suffering from heel pain, you need to see a podiatrist to confirm your condition. Heel pain, which is also called plantar fasciitis, is known as heel spur syndrome as well. The plantar fascia, itself, is a long, thin ligament that sits beneath the skin on the bottom of the foot. This ligament connects the front portion of the foot to the heel and supports the arch.
What Causes Heel Pain?
When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, the resulting outcome is heel pain. Inflammation may develop as the result of one or more of the following reasons:
- Faulty biomechanics of the feet (high arches or flat feet)
- A tight calf muscle
- The use of footwear that is non-supportive
The symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain on the bottom of the foot, close to the heel
- Pain that occurs when first getting out of bed, or after a long period of rest, and which gradually fades after walking for a while
- Pain that increases after exercise
Making a Diagnosis
In order to diagnose plantar fasciitis, a specialist in podiatry in Perth performs an examination and takes the necessary imaging. Imaging may include an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound, depending on the condition.
Conservative Treatment Approaches
Some of the conservative treatment approaches for plantar fasciitis include stretching exercises and walking in supportive shoes. Orthotics are also used if the foot biomechanics are faulty. Functional orthoses are often prescribed as a preventative treatment measure as well.
In some instances, patients benefit from the application of ice, placed on the heel for a period of twenty minutes at a time. Ice should be applied wrapped in a thin towel, not directly onto the skin.
Patients are also advised to cut down on physical activities in order to give the heel a chance to rest. Medications may also be prescribed in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These types of medicines help reduce inflammation and ameliorate pain.
Injection therapy, in some instances, may be used to reduce the level of pain. Normally, corticosteroid is administered to provide pain relief. A removable walking cast may also be used to immobilise the foot for a few weeks so it can rest, and therefore heal.
Opting for Surgery
Most patients who suffer from plantar fasciitis respond to the above-mentioned treatment plans. However, some patients still do not find relief after a few months of non-invasive therapy. Podiatric surgery is indicated for any conditions that affect the foot and ankle and surrounding area. Besides bone spurs and heel pain, surgery may be recommended for structural deformities, skin and nail disorders, degenerative joint diseases, inflammatory joints diseases, and tendon and soft tissue disorders.
Confirming a Diagnosis
If you currently have heel pain, make sure to have your foot assessed by a podiatrist. Confirming a diagnosis can assist you in reducing the level of pain and following a treatment method that fits with your lifestyle and budget. Usually, plantar fasciitis can be relieved through resting and taking non-inflammatory medications. More extreme measures include the wearing of orthotics.