Heel pain is often the result of a condition referred to as plantar fasciitis or heel spur syndrome. Additional factors can cause heel pain including arthritis, nerve irritation, tendonitis, a stress fracture, loss of fat in the heel, bursitis, or very occasionally a cyst. To identify the underlying cause, the Dr. Polun will assess the foot and ankle thoroughly, which may include diagnostic imaging such as x-rays or MRIs. While most conditions can be managed with at-home strategies such as stretching, splints, and icing as well as using padding, orthotics, walking casts, and certain medications such as anti-inflammatories, Dr. Polun offers other treatment options including MLS laser therapy and injections. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition which occurs when the plantar fascia, a strong band of connective tissue which goes from the bottom of the foot to the heel, becomes inflamed and aggravated. Pain is usually felt in the bottom of the heel and along the underside of the foot. The pain is usually worse in the morning and following periods of continued sitting. The discomfort and stiffness recede after the foot begins to move and flex, however, it comes back after another round of inactivity. Plantar fasciitis can be addressed with gentle stretching exercises and massage to assist to relieve swelling and increase flexibility and strength in the ligament itself. In some instances, MLS laser therapy or injections of anti-inflammatory medications into the ligament may be prescribed when stretching and massage does not provide relief.
Treatment will usually start with physical therapy and at-home strategies. However, Dr. Polun is expertly trained in the application of MLS laser therapy to treat heel pain and will often suggest this treatment to patients, especially if other conservative approaches either don’t work or are inconvenient for the patient. In some cases, surgery may be ordered to repair a bone growth if one is present.