What causes heel pain?
Over-activity, flat feet or fallen arches, high arches, heredity, obesity, overuse, poorly-fitted shoes, and trauma are the most common reasons heel pain and plantar fasciitis develop. They can cause the plantar fascia to strain over time beyond its normal extension, leading to tears along the length of the soft tissue fibers of the fascia.
What are the symptoms?
Inflammation, stabbing or shoot pain, pain upon waking or after long periods of rest, swelling, and pain when walking are hallmark signs of plantar fasciitis. Heel-pain sufferers may also endure the growth of a bony mass, or bone spur.
What are the treatment options?
There are two routes to go when curing heel pain: conservative treatment and surgical intervention. At our office, it is extremely rare to perform surgery on heel pain patients due to the success of our heel-pain protocol. Conservative measures include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication (e.g., cortisone injection)
- Resting and icing
- Stretching exercises
- Taping and strapping
- Physical therapy
- Custom-molded orthotics (see below)
- Amniotic tissue allografts (see below)
Though relatively rare, if conservative measures are exhausted with no improvement, surgical intervention may be required. Surgeries may involve the release of the plantar fascia, removal of a bone spur, removal of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac or saclike cavity), or percutaneous ablation of the plantar fascia (TOPAZ). Dr. Siegel makes sure to try all available conservative options available prior to suggesting surgery.
What are custom-molded orthotics?
Custom-molded orthotics are shoe inserts that are customized to accommodate the specific conditions of your feet and control foot function. They are useful in reducing symptoms and preventing the worsening of heel pain. To create orthotics, Dr. Siegel casts a patient’s feet in plaster molding, which is then sent to a lab where the inserts are expertly-crafted and hand-made.
What is an amniotic tissue allograft?
It’s the newest RESTORATIVE treatment on the market. This injectable medication contains sterilized and micronized amniotic membrane that work to regenerate the patient’s tissue. It is derived from the placenta of babies born via C-section and is filled with anti-inflammatory blood products and growth factors that facilitate the healing of injured areas, including plantar fascia. These allografts have proved effective in 100% of cases. There is no downtime, though patients may experience pain for the first three days following the amniotic tissue allograft. Full results take 6-8 weeks to manifest.
What If I don’t seek treatment?
Not seeking treatment for heel pain in a timely manner could result in a possible tear of the plantar fascia and continued pain. Tearing the plantar fascia can impact your daily routine and greatly extend the time it takes to treat the condition.