Different issues can contribute to heel pain, including deep bruises (sometimes called “stone” bruises), Achilles tendon problems, repetitive or overuse injuries, bone spurs and plantar fasciitis. Having an in-depth exam and evaluation is the key to receiving the proper diagnosis and most appropriate care for long-term relief of pain and related symptoms.
The plantar fascia is a strong band of fibrous tissue that extends across the bottom of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes, providing support for the midfoot region and the arch. Sometimes, this band of tissue can become inflamed and irritated, resulting in pain in the heel and along the side of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs most commonly among older men and women, and it can also occur in athletes as a result of repetitive impact or in people who stand for long periods of time each day.
Bone spurs are small, hard projections that form along the side or edges of the bone. In the feet, bone spurs occur most commonly along the heel. Sometimes, these spurs cause few or no symptoms; but other times, they can press into the surrounding soft tissues and cause pain and irritation, especially when the foot is flexed or pressure is placed on the heel.
Shockwave therapy is a treatment that uses focused pulses of ultrasonic energy to penetrate the soft tissues, breaking down fibrous adhesions or scar tissue and promoting healthy circulation for faster healing. Shockwave therapy can be especially effective in treating chronic heel pain, including pain due to sports injuries and repetitive use injuries. It’s also effective in reducing or eliminating pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Because it uses highly focused energy, shockwave therapy can be targeted only at the injured area, leaving surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. Shockwave therapy can be performed right in the office with no need for anesthesia and very little to no discomfort beyond the discomfort associated with existing inflammation and irritation. While a single treatment is often sufficient to provide relief for patients, others may need an additional treatment for maximum relief of symptoms.