Heel Pain Continues to Plague Adults
Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Best Defense is Early Treatment
If you are suffering from heel pain, you’re not alone. According to foot and ankle surgeons attending the 68th Annual Scientific Conference of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, heel pain continues to be the most common reason patients seek care. Surgeons advise the best defense to keeping pain in control is early treatment.
Heel pain can have many different causes with the most common being plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of tissue (plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes.
Conference speaker and foot and ankle surgeon Michelle Butterworth, DPM, FACFAS explains that patients who most frequently suffer with heel pain are those who spend the majority of their day on their feet. “Continuous standing or walking on a daily basis or even starting a repetitive activity, such as a new exercise routine, without proper shoes can put a lot of stress and strain on the ligaments in the foot, resulting in inflammation and pain,” Dr. Butterworth says.
The good news is heel pain is treatable. “If treatment is sought early, all but a small percentage of patients suffering will experience relief with conservative therapies such as limiting activities, footwear modifications, anti-inflammatory medications, and stretching exercises,” Dr. Butterworth adds. “The key to success in eliminating the pain is early treatment; heel pain can turn chronic and debilitating if not cared for promptly by a foot and ankle surgeon.”
When conservative therapies do not provide relief after several months, surgery may be considered. “New surgical techniques available now allow surgeons to easily eliminate or reduce pain with faster recovery times for patients,” says Dr. Butterworth.
For more information on heel pain, visit ACFAS’ consumer health web site FootHealthFacts.org.