Dr. Hoffman is a top-ranked podiatrist at Katonah Podiatry, PC, providing comprehensive care for patients throughout Westchester County, NY. As a leading foot and ankle doctor, Dr. Hoffman is skilled in diagnosing and treating heel pain, helping patients find relief for their discomfort while also improving mobility.
What are the most common causes of heel pain?
Heel pain can be caused by lots of factors, including:
- Bursitis (inflammation of small sacs of fluid near the heel)
- Heel spurs
- Bone diseases
- Ill-fitting shoes
One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which develops when the strong band of tissue stretches across the bottom of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed. Called the plantar fascia, this band can become inflamed as a result of several factors, including obesity, repetitive stress on the bottom of the foot, and tissue changes that occur with aging. Many types of heel pain are exacerbated by being overweight since excess weight places significantly more pressure on the heels during walking and standing.
How is heel pain diagnosed?
During your evaluation, the patient’s foot will be examined, and he or she will be asked to describe the symptoms in detail, including what causes pain to occur. The patient may be asked to perform specific exercises like flexing or stretching the foot to determine what motions are associated with the symptoms. In some cases, diagnostic imaging may be ordered to rule out issues like bone spurs or small fractures.
What treatments are available for heel pain?
Custom orthotics, also called inserts, designed specifically for the patient’s foot shape and medical needs, often can provide significant relief. Oral medications and in some cases injections of anti-inflammatory medications may also help. Some patients may find relief by using special devices to gently stretch the plantar fascia.
How can I prevent heel pain?
Poorly-fitting shoes are a major cause of many types of foot and heel pain, so patients should ensure his or her shoes fit properly and provide adequate cushioning and support, especially for athletic activities. It is also important to avoid going barefoot or wearing non-supportive footwear. Dr. Hoffman may suggest using a cushioned fatigue mat when standing for a long period while at work. Patients with heel pain should make an appointment with Dr. Hoffman at the first sign of heel pain to get appropriate treatment as soon as possible.