We see many patients every day that complain about pain on the bottom of the heel. Many people describe pain with that first step in the morning getting out of bed. They put the foot down on the ground and immediately feel sharp pain on the bottom of the heel. This pain can be so intense that people find it so hard to put their foot on the ground and they even think they may have fractured or broke their heel bone! If you are experiencing this type of pain, it is silly to not get into see your podiatrist. A podiatrist is a doctor who has dedicated their focus on helping people with their foot and ankle problems. Being very specialized and specifically trained to to treat foot and ankle conditions.
What to expect when you go to the Center for Ankle and Foot Care for your heel pain. Dr. Henne and Dr. McGowan will tell you that heel pain or plantar fasciitis is one of the most common conditions we see in the foot and ankle. Our staff will most likely get a set of foot X-rays. This is done in the office and is covered by insurance companies to help the doctor diagnose and treat your foot problem. After the X-rays are taken, the doctors will go over the digital X-rays with you in the treatment room. The doctors will explaine the findings on the films. Next an evaluation of the foot will be performed after a thorough history is obtained. It is important that you as the patient remember pertinent information and relay to the doctor if you have recently started a new activity, wearing different shoes, had travelled and done a lot of walking or had trauma to the foot. This is very helpful for the doctor to give you the best possible treatment.
The doctor will palpate the foot, this usually has a predictable outcome of the patient jumping a little. But this gives the doctor a pretty big clue that they are dealing with plantar fasciitis/heel pain. They also may examine the tightness in the calf muscles. If you have tight calf muscle this often is an area that must be addresssed in order for you to get 100% better from you plantar fasciitis.
Our doctors then go over the treatment regimen for plantar fasciitis. You may be surprised to see how simple the treatment often can be. The doctors will go over some simple stretching exercises, like the silly picture below.
The doctors will also discuss rolling an ice bottle under the bottom of the foot as a means of physical therapy and helping with the inflammation on the bottom of the heel.
The discussion of shoe gear always comes up. Many patients don't realize that their shoe gear and lack of support is usually the prime suspect in plantar fasciitis or heel pain. Their shoes are too flat, too old and worn out or just do not have enough support. Finding a good shoe and having the correct support are paramount in getting better with plantar fasciitis. We believe this so strongly that we carry on hand at The Center for Ankle and Foot Care our favorite insert for support and flipflops and slides that our own doctors wear in their shoes and at home instead of going barefoot.
Sometimes you may do everything right but still do not get better. If the doctors have tried a course of medicine by mouth for the inflammation and you have done all of your homework and still have pain, you may benefit from a shot in the foot. This is usually not a first line of defense, as the simple treatments often work. The doctor also may recommend a plantar fascial night splint to get an extra deep stretch at rest.
If you would like more information on heel pain or plantar fasciitis, or a link to a night splint, check out our website information about heel pain. We discuss bone spurs and what the surgery is for heel pain and when we actually do surgery for heel pain.
Our doctors are happy to see you and help your feet feel better.
Dr. Timothy Henne and Dr. Michele McGowan