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Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC

Heel Problems - When Pressure Takes Its Toll

I limped into Dr. Patel's office several months ago with plantar fasciitis. Dr. Patel and his staff immediately put me at ease, reassuring me that my problems could be treated and managed. Thanks to Dr. Patel's treatments, not only am I walking comfortably again, but I was also recently able to complete a half marathon.

Ed C., New Haven, CT.

Have you noticed a bump on the back of your heel rubbing against your shoes? Or have you ever had trouble with sharp pain under the heel when you take your first steps in the morning? Problems with the back of the foot often start small, but as the condition worsens over time, the discomfort can make it hard to wear regular shoes or spend too much time on your feet. Fortunately, most heel problems have simple, conservative solutions if addressed right away.

Heel pain is a common condition in which weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort. Symptoms include a dull ache which is felt most of the time with episodes of a sharp pain in the center of the heel or on the inside margin of the heel. This pain can be onset from plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. The pain is often worse in the morning and is aggravated by prolonged weight bearing.

Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. has been trained specifically in diagnosis and treatment of heel pain.

  • Self-help remedies to reduce the pain including rest, stretches and ice.

  • Careful evaluation of symptoms and foot biomechanics.

  • Conservative treatment plan personalized for your specific condition.

  • Advanced treatment options for chronic heel pain including Shockwave Therapy.

Common Problems

Heel pain

Your actual heel bone isn’t very large, but it handles an incredible amount of pressure. It’s one of the main weight-bearing and support pieces of your lower limbs. Often it strikes the ground first when you take a step, and it helps maintain your foot stability. So when you experience pain in your heels, it can make it very difficult to walk and put normal pressure on the back of the foot. Some common heel problems include:

Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Spurs

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the sole of the foot from the toes to the heel. When it tightens and swells, it pulls on the heel bone and stresses it. This is not only uncomfortable, it can actually result in the development of heel spurs, or small pointed growths under the heel bone.

Haglund’s Deformity

This is a bony growth or enlargement on your heel. Stress on the back of the heel bone causes a bump to develop that can rub painfully against the back of your shoe. High arches, tight Achilles tendons, and walking on the outside of the foot can all contribute to the problem.

Heel Callus

The heels must deal with heavy friction regularly. This can stress the skin and result in callus build-up to try and protect the back of the foot from the friction. Mild calluses are not necessarily a problem, but thick ones can add uncomfortable pressure and allow the skin to dry out faster.

Heel Fissures

If the skin around the heel dries out enough, especially if there is thick callus build-up there, the skin may be prone to deep, painful cracks. This can open the body to infection and make standing or walking uncomfortable.

Because your heel handles so much of your body weight on a regular basis, conditions affecting it can have a significant impact on your mobility and comfort. Fortunately, many conservative treatments are effective for relieving the pressure on the back of the foot and eliminating the pain. Shoe changes, orthotics, and some basic stretches and exercises can help the strained tissues to relax and heal as well as build up strength. In rare cases, the discomfort may be persistent and require more serious intervention to manage the condition—like direct injections of pain medications or even surgery.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with pain in your heels, you don’t have to accept living with it. Most problems in the back of the foot can be treated successfully using entirely conservative measures. The sooner the problem is addressed, the easier it is to treat, so don’t wait. Contact the experts at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information and take care of your feet. Call either of our two office locations—(203) 876-7736 for the Milford office, or (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden location—or visit our website contact page to reach us.