Whether you’re a youth athlete, working-age adult, or active senior, heel pain can hinder your performance and keep you from the activities you love. At Head to Toe Healthcare, PLC, our podiatric team specializes in treating heel pain in all its forms, allowing you to keep living your best life—at any age.
What Causes Heel Pain?
Your heels take a pounding—a typical person might rack up around 5 miles per day, and over 100,000 in a lifetime! Constant stress from working, playing, bad footwear, or even structural misalignments in the feet can wear you down, causing pain that aches, burns, stabs, or even prickles.
Common heel pain conditions include:
- Plantar fasciitis. Tearing and stress in the plantar fascia tissue causes pain in the bottom of the heel, especially with the first few footsteps after resting or sleeping.
- Achilles tendinitis. Pain occurs at the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon (or “heel cord”) attaches to the heel bone.
- Sever’s disease. This condition affects children, especially young athletes during or around their early teen years. At this age, the soft growth plate of the heel is relatively exposed and can be injured by repetitive stress.
- Nerve pain. Sensory nerves in the feet may become damaged due to progressive degeneration, or pinched and blocked by injury or inflammation. This can cause pain, tingling, and ultimately even total numbness.
Healing Heel Pain
If your heel pain is relatively mild, tried-and-true conservative care options are very frequently effective. These include:
- RICE therapy. Rest your feet for a few days and avoid strenuous activity. Use ice (no more than 20 minutes at a time), compression bandages or wraps, and elevate your feet to reduce pain and swelling.
- Injections. A shot of cortisone can provide more substantial pain relief.
- Stretching and physical therapy. We’ll show you stretches to relieve tension and build resiliency in the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
- Orthotics. We carry prefabricated arch supports, and are also able to fit and order custom orthotics using a foam box mold and 3D scanning technology.
Besides the basics, Head to Toe Healthcare also specializes in several innovative and advanced treatment options for particularly stubborn heel pain, as well as athletes or workers looking for accelerated healing. These include:
- Laser therapy. Our system uses two separate, synchronized beams that stimulate cellular tissue. This not only dulls and relieves pain, but also accelerates tissue regeneration to improve healing and reduce recovery time.
- Radiofrequency nerve ablation (RFNA). This treatment uses radiofrequency energy (a mild electrical current) to selectively disrupt painful nerve function. Crucially, it is precise enough to target specific sensory nerve fibers without adversely affecting motor nerves. This enables pain relief without losing muscle function as a side effect.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Your body naturally uses platelets—small particles within the blood—to deliver growth factors and proteins to heal injuries. In PRP therapy, a small sample of your blood is taken, then spun in a centrifuge to produce a sample with a high concentration of platelets. This is then injected to the injury site to promote faster healing.
- AmnioMatrix. Made from voluntarily donated and processed placental and amniotic tissue, this was first used in sheet form to cover wounds. However, in injectable form it can supply an area of inflammation with collagen and other proteins critical for cellular healing and regeneration.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). A small applicator wand is placed on the skin above the site of injury. It generates gentle pulses of energy waves, which break up scar tissue and stimulate injury healing. This in-office procedure does not require anesthesia, and patients can return to normal activity within a few days.
At Head to Toe Healthcare, it’s all about offering the widest variety of options to our Tucson-area patients so we can customize a treatment plan that meets your needs as effectively as possible. To schedule an appointment, give us a call anytime at (520) 545-0202, or toll free at (888) 219-1982.