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Heel pain may also present as Achilles tendonitis. Generally, there are two main areas where heel pain may occur. The first area is the bottom of the heel, which touches the floor taking the brunt of the body weight. The second area of the heel where pain may occur is the back of the heel. This area on the back of the heel is where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone. Sometimes this part on the back of the heel will be so painful that tennis shoes and sneakers will rub in this area and worsen the painful symptom.
Another area of pain here at the back of the heel can be from the achilles tendon itself. The tendon may become irritated by micro tears, blunt trauma, overuse, or from external rubbing creating what is known as "achilles tendonitis". Wearing sneakers may be tolerable, but walking and running can be painful on the back of the leg, just above the heel along the tendon.
It is imperative to seek medical treatment for a thorough examination to determine the cause of the heel pain. Determining the cause will then provide the appropriate course of treatment. Typical, first line, conservative treatments may include rest, ice, immobilization, heel lifts, oral anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. Imaging may involve x-rays and MRIs. Chronic, long-term achilles tendon pain can lead to weakening of the tendon and sometimes spontaneous rupture in the worst cases, therefore it is important to seek a foot and ankle specialist, or podiatrist as soon as possible to determine cause and treatment course. If the tendon is already ruptured, then an MRI is typically ordered to evaluate the integrity of the tendon, the severity of the tear, and to plan a course of treatment.
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Every day millions of people suffer from heel pain. This is one of the most common complaints that patients come to my office with. They will complain of a sharp pain to the bottom of their heel when they stand up from a seated position. This sharp heel pain may tend to get slightly better as the day goes on, or it may linger on throughout the day.
This initial, sharp, knife-like pain is due to a tight fibrous band of soft tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from heel to toes (known as the plantar fascia) taking the full force of body weight without any support underneath. This band of tissue then tugs on the heel causing a painful inflammatory reaction/symptom. Placing an orthotic or arch support in the bottom of the foot will help prevent this painful tugging of the plantar fascia on the heel.
There are several other additional measures that should be considered along with the use of an orthotic, or shoe insert, such as: ice, rest, type of shoes, stretching, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. If the pain is severe enough, and conservative attempts have failed, then the next option would be an injection.
Nevertheless, results will vary from patient to patient, and it is best to visit your nearest foot and ankle specialist for an appropriate evaluation. Visit your nearest podiatrist or orthopaedic foot doctor.
Below, I have listed a very good orthotic insert for patients that have a fairly neutral arch height. Orthotics may be beneficial for heel pain, ankle pain, arch pain, knee pain, and lower back pain.