Treating Heel Pain Has Never Been Easier
It wasn’t that long ago that treatment for a bad case of heel pain hadn’t evolved much past “take two and call me in the morning.”
Like many forms of mild-to-moderate chronic pain, there just wasn’t a lot that could be done besides giving yourself a few days (or weeks) to rest, popping a couple of aspirin, and hoping for the best.
If it didn’t go away after months of agony? Sorry: you might be looking at surgery.
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since those dark ages. In fact, treating heel pain quickly and effectively has never been easier—especially when you have access to the advanced equipment and regenerative medicine techniques available at the Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma!
A Quick Word About Rest
Before we launch into the good stuff, though, a quick word about “rest” as a treatment option. We were perhaps a bit unfair back there.
Truthfully, if your heel pain really is fairly recent and quite mild, rest actually has a pretty good track record as a first-line treatment option. So if you can manage it, you can always try taking it easy for a couple of days, doing a little gentle stretching, and using a little ice or some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories (as directed, of course) as needed.
But if your pain is severe—enough to really get in the way of your day—or continues to linger for longer than a week? That’s a good sign that rest and painkillers probably aren’t going to cut it. Rather than wait it out for relief that might not come, it’s time to take the next step.
When It Really Hurts, You Need More
With that caveat out of the way, let’s look at how some more modern medical techniques are helping us conquer serious heel pain faster and easier than ever before.
Because let’s be honest—if you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already moved way past the “my foot kind of aches a little bit” stage of your condition.
Maybe your heel pain has cut your sports season short, or stopped you from going on long runs or hikes like you used to.
Maybe your heel pain is making just getting through your normal workday routine an agonizing experience.
Maybe you barely even want to get out of bed now because you know how brutal that stabbing pain is going to be as soon as you put your foot down.
The Easiest, Fastest, and Most Effective Treatments for Heel Pain
When that tough pain strikes, your checklist probably looks something like this:
- In the immediate term, make the pain go away as quickly as possible
- In the short to medium term, repair the underlying tissue damage to the heels so you aren’t just managing symptoms any more—you actually recover.
- In the long term, keep the pain from coming back.
Well, we have good news, because we’ve got you covered on all three fronts.
For a long time, doctors have been using injections of corticosteroids (“cortisone shots,” in common language) to provide fast-acting relief for tough, localized pain. That hasn’t changed, but the process has been improved.
Injections do have their downsides. The biggest ones are that they don’t treat the causes of pain, but only the symptoms, and that they have diminishing returns the more you use them. One or two shots is probably okay, but multiple injections over time not only begin to lose their effectiveness, but can even weaken tendons and increase your risk of injury.
How do we improve the process? By adding ultrasonic guidance into the procedure.
The ultrasound machine identifies the precise location where the tissue is most inflamed, so we can deliver the cortisone injection directly where it’s most needed. This not only means you get more effective pain relief, but it also makes the procedure safer to perform, too.
Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment (EPAT), or “Shockwave Therapy”
Shockwave therapy sounds like it might be something a mad scientist in a horror film cooked up. But in actual fact, it’s an extremely effective regenerative treatment therapy for all kinds of chronic soft tissue pain and inflammation—including heel pain.
We’ll spare you the technical details, but it’s actually a fairly simple concept. The machine generates mild pressure waves which travel through an applicator and into your body, where they penetrate deep into injured tissues. Once there, it begins to break up scar tissue and triggers your cells to boost circulation and metabolism in the affected area.
In this way, shockwave therapy not only helps alleviate painful symptoms (checkbox number one), but also “jump starts” and accelerates your body’s only natural healing response (checkbox number two).
More good news: the treatment is approved by the FDA, completely non-invasive, and requires no anesthesia or medications. Even better: a typical treatment course requires only a small handful of weekly or semi-weekly sessions, each often lasting no more than 15-20 minutes.
Over the long term, custom orthotics can really work wonders for people who used to struggle with heel pain—especially when that heel pain was at least partially caused by structural defects in your feet, or abnormalities in your walking gait.
To give you a more concrete example, imagine a person with low or flat arches. A flat arch can often result in feet that excessively pronate—or in other words, feet that roll too far inward when bearing weight. Often this means the plantar fascia ligament gets overstretched, leading to higher rates of plantar fasciitis.
The right orthotic insert, however, can offset these kinds of issues. A good orthotic can support your arch; cradle and cushion your heels; reduce impact, shock, and shear forces … even correct faulty biomechanics. When you wear your orthotics, you’re much less likely to develop chronic injuries like heel pain and can go longer without foot fatigue and discomfort holding you back.
How do you get the right set of orthotics? Stop on by! For those who just need a bit of extra support, we carry a good selection of pre-made arch supports and can select an appropriate pair for you. For those who need something even better, we’ll make a mold of your feet so that a custom set can be manufactured just for you.
Ready to Make Heel Pain a Thing of the Past?
We thought you might be!
With the resources we have available, there’s no reason to put up with your chronic heel pain any longer. Give us a call, and we’ll help you get better—as quickly and simply as possible.
You can request an appointment with us online, or call our office today at (405) 418-2676.
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