Foot, Heel & Arch Pain Treatment in Des Moines & Mason City
Your feet can handle a heavy load, but too much stress pushes them over their limits. Every mile you walk puts extra stress on each foot. When you pound your feet on hard surfaces playing sports or wear shoes that irritate sensitive tissues, you may develop heel pain, the most common problem affecting the foot and ankle. Our industry-leading foot and ankle specialists in Des Moines and Mason City are specially trained to diagnose your foot condition and find the best treatment option to get you back on your feet.
Heel Pain Causes & Treatment
The heel is the largest bone in the foot. It absorbs a lot of the force applied with every step we take. It also bears the most weight when we find ourselves standing in one place for long periods of time. A sore heel can have many different causes and will usually get better on its own without foot pain treatment if you give it enough rest.
However, many people ignore the early signs of heel pain and keep on doing the activities that caused it. When you continue to walk on a sore heel, it will only get worse and could become a chronic condition leading to more problems. While most patients respond to non-surgical foot pain treatments, it is important you seek the help of a foot and ankle specialist if the pain persists.
Common Causes of Heel Pain
Heel pain can stem from a wide range of possible causes. While some are unavoidable, many aren’t and should be taken into consideration. Our foot and ankle specialists want you to know the most common causes of heel pain so you can continue enjoying an active, pain-free life. Contact our Des Moines & Mason City podiatrists to learn more about the following:
- Plantar Fasciitis: If you experience heel pain during the first few steps you take in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time, it could be plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and develops when the plantar fascia tendon becomes strained due to overuse and high amounts of pressure.
- Achilles Tendonitis: This occurs when the achilles tendon, a band of tissue connecting the calf muscle to the back of the heel, is overused and strained. Achilles tendonitis is most commonly found in runners and other highly active individuals who exercise for long periods of time.
- Arthritis: There are few different types of arthritis, all of which can be the cause of your heel pain. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the early signs and treatments so that you can determine the best foot and ankle arthritis treatment option for your heel pain.
- Injury: Common injuries that are ignored and left untreated can cause severe heel pain and eventually lead to chronic illness. Stress fractures are the most common of these. Tiny cracks in the bone caused by repetitive force from things like running and jumping can severely weaken the bone. Fractures are most common in weight bearing regions of the foot and ankle such as the toes and heel.
Other causes to consider if you start to experience heel pain are wearing unsupportive or constraining shoes on hard, flat surfaces, standing for long periods of time and obesity.
Conditions that cause heel pain generally fall into two main categories: pain beneath the heel and pain behind the heel.
Pain Beneath the Heel
Pain is typically gradual, stemming from things like wearing unsupportive shoes. Once the heel begins to experience that extra stress, injury becomes much more likely. Mild heel pain can eventually turn into a chronic illness. There are many treatment options to consider, both surgical and non-surgical. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling, physical therapy, athletic taping and more supportive footwear to help relieve some of the major weight bearing areas of the foot, and orthotics such as insoles. If all else fails, surgical attention may be needed. Call our foot and ankle specialists at EVFAS to learn more about your options.
Pain Behind the Heel
Experiencing pain behind the heel means you’re likely dealing with bursitis or achilles tendonitis. Bursitis develops slowly as irritation along with inflammation, usually in runners and individuals who wear shoes that create rubbing and friction on the heel. Other common conditions on the back of the heel include stress fractures and trapped nerves. Depending on the diagnosis and your medical history, our specialists will recommend the best non-surgical options for you. We like to avoid surgery unless necessary. Conservative foot pain treatments for pain behind the heel include shoe inserts, medication, the RICE method and stretching. If all fail, talk with the specialists at EVFAS about your surgical options. Schedule your consultation today.
To find out what’s causing your heel pain, call Iowa’s leading podiatrists at EVFAS. Our foot and ankle specialists can diagnose the cause of your heel pain and recommend the best treatment options.
Treatment Options for Heel Pain at East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons
At EVFAS, our podiatrists are trained to evaluate and treat a variety of heel conditions. As Iowa’s leading foot and ankle specialists, we utilize the latest and best technologies and procedures for your foot and ankle care needs. If your heel hurts, see your foot and ankle specialist right away to determine why and get treatment. Tell us exactly where you have pain and how long you've had it. Your doctor will examine your heel, looking and feeling for signs of tenderness and swelling. You may be asked to walk, stand on one foot or do other physical tests that help your doctor pinpoint the cause of your sore heel.
Many nonsurgical treatments involve altering normal everyday practices to better relieve your feet from strain and pressure. Does your job require you to stand or walk for hours at a time? If so, try to incorporate breaks to sit down momentarily. How supportive are your shoes? Wearing unsupportive shoes puts strain on the plantar fascia and can cause anywhere from mild to disabling pain. Have you ever injured your heel? If so, don’t ignore it! It’s possible you’ll need to have a podiatrist diagnose the cause if simple home remedies don’t relieve your heel pain.
Arch Pain Causes & Treatment
The arch of the foot extends from the balls of your feet to the heel. Arch pain is a common problem, especially in active individuals who participate in sports and daily exercise. The two most common causes of arch pain are injury and structural tissues such as abnormally high or low arches. Factors including age, overuse and weight can heighten the symptoms of arch pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel and arch pain. Anyone can develop plantar fasciitis, however it’s more likely for runners and active individuals. A diagnosis of plantar fasciitis means you have inflamed the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
You're more likely to develop plantar fasciitis if you're overweight or have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces. You're also at risk if you walk or run for exercise, especially if you have tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles. People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis. The condition typically starts gradually with mild pain at the heel bone often referred to as a stone bruise. You're more likely to feel it after (not during) exercise. The pain classically occurs right after getting up in the morning and after a period of sitting.
If you don't treat plantar fasciitis, it may become a chronic condition. You may not be able to keep up your level of activity, and you may develop symptoms of foot, knee, hip and back problems because plantar fasciitis can change the way you walk. If plantar fasciitis surgery is required, your surgeon may detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. Surgical arch pain treatment aims to relieve the band of connective tissue, however runs the risk of weakening the arch of the foot. Conservative arch pain treatment options to relieve pain involve stretching and resting. In most cases, this is enough to relieve pain. Your podiatrist may recommend physical therapy, night splints, cortisone injections, medication and supportive shoes/inserts. Talk to a podiatrist at EVFAS about your arch pain treatment options.
Flat Foot Surgery: Treating Flat Foot Pain & Fallen Arches
If you look at an adult foot from the inside, you'll usually notice an upward curve in the middle. This is called an arch. Tendons – tight bands that attach at the heel and foot bones – form the arch. When the tendons all pull the proper amount, then your foot forms a moderate, normal arch. When tendons do not pull together properly, there is little or no arch. This is called flat foot or fallen arch.
Many young children have flat feet, a condition referred to as flexible flat feet. When the child stands, the feet look flat. But when the child rises to his or her toes, a slight arch appears. In most cases, as children grow older, the arches develop.
Flat foot pain can significantly affect levels of activity in individuals and overall quality of life. While there are numerous home remedies for relieving flat foot pain, the condition may require surgery. Flat foot surgery aims to relieve pain and restore mobility in individuals with abnormally low arches.
Schedule Your Foot, Heel & Ankle Evaluation
When it comes to the health of your adult and pediatric foot and ankle care, look no further than East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons. Call us at 515-282-6067 (Des Moines) or 641-423-3367 (Mason City). Visit us online to schedule an appointment.