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By Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care
March 20, 2018
Category: heel pain
Tags: Plantar Fasciitis  

One of the most common foot problems that we see patients for at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care is heel pain. Heel pain can be extremely disabling, making it difficult to participate in activities you enjoy and even to complete daily tasks. Tracking down the cause of heel pain, however, is not always easy. When pain is not the result of a visual or surface issue such as heel fissures or Haglund’s deformity but is felt deep within the heel, our podiatrists Dr. Varun (Ben) Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah will need to do some investigating to get to the source of the pain. The foot doctor will start by examining your feet and ankles and getting your complete medical history, including any previous foot or ankle injuries you may have had. The podiatrist may also want you to have an x-ray, MRI, bone scan, or other imaging studies to get a better look at the inside of your foot to pinpoint (or rule out) possible reasons for your pain. In addition, you may be asked questions about your work, daily, and leisure activities.

In many cases, heel pain is not directly caused by a problem in the heel. Below are three common causes of heel pain where this is the case:

Plantar Fasciitis—the plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes. This band can become inflamed due to arch problems (overly high arches or flat feet), overuse issues, inappropriate shoe choice or being overweight. The strain on the plantar fascia puts stress on your heel, causing pain and discomfort. One telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is sharp, stabbing pain when you first get out of bed or after you’ve been sitting for a while.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome—with this disorder a compressed nerve is the source of heel pain. The tarsal tunnel is a structure at the inside base of your ankle that houses the posterior tibial nerve (along with arteries, veins, and tendons). When the tunnel is squeezed (either due to injury, a foreign or enlarged object in the tunnel, such as a cyst or varicose vein, or a biomechanical problem), the nerve gets compressed and causes heel pain.

Back Issues—if you are experiencing pain in both heels and the foot doctor cannot find a problem with your feet or ankles, another possibility is that the pain is being caused by a back issue. Nerves that go down to your heels can be affected by spine disorders.

If you are experiencing heel pain, it’s important to make an appointment at our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office in New Jersey. We can help you find the cause of the pain and get started on a treatment plan that will alleviate it and prevent permanent damage. Contact us today by calling: 732-662-3050.

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