Getting Help For Debilitating Heel Pain

If you suddenly find it painful to step down on your heel when you get out of bed in the morning, you may have one of the common causes of heel pain. An irritated band of tissue or an abnormal bone growth may be the cause. A visit to a podiatrist will determine the cause of the pain. The doctor can then recommend a number of options to reduce the pain while your foot heels naturally. Here is why your heel hurts and what can be done to get rid of the pain.

Plantar Fasciitis

A band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, runs along the bottom of your foot and connects the base of your toes to your heel. This tissue helps to hold the arch in your foot. When this tissue becomes irritated and inflamed, it can be so painful that you can't put weight on your foot.

Some of the typical symptoms with this condition include:

  • burning sensation on the bottom of the foot
  • pain when pressing on the bottom of the heel or at the base of the toes
  • collapse of the foot when you do try to put weight on it

Cause of Plantar Fascia

Some of the common causes of this foot pain include:

  • shoes that don't fit properly and rub on the bottom of the foot
  • inadequate stretching of the foot muscles before physical activity
  • bone spur on the heel that irritates the tissue band

Treatment of Plantar Fascia

Once the foot doctor determines the cause and extent of the tissue irritation, they will recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • anti-inflammatory and pain medications
  • custom orthotics to take pressure off of the bottom of the foot allowing the tissue to heal
  • steroid injection to immediately reduce the inflammation

If the pain persists and is caused by a bone spur, surgical removal of the bone fragment may be recommended.

Bone Spur

A bone spur, by itself, may be painful without irritating the plantar fascia. These are tiny bits of bone that grow out of the heel, usually where a tendon is attached. The stress of the tendon pulling on the heel bone can cause it to put out these bits of bone. Normally, your body absorbs the bone spur before it causes any problems. But if it is sharp and digs into the surrounding tissues, you'll have a painful spot on your heel that may be very painful to put weight on.

Treatment of a Bone Spur

The treatment is focused on reducing the pain in the area until your body absorbs the bone. The foot doctor may recommend:

  • custom orthotics for your shoe to relieve pressure on the heel
  • anti-inflammatory and pain medication
  • steroid injection at the point of irritation

If the bone spur doesn't go away and continues to cause heel pain, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the bone growth.