Remember, Not All Heel Pain Is the Same

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Heel painYou may love jelly beans, but not the black ones—or maybe those are your favorites. (Not that you should be eating jelly beans anyway, but stay with us for a moment.) An aficionado will tell you not all jelly beans are the same. One manufacturer’s orange one is tangy and sweet, but another’s may taste like someone put a drop of dish soap in it!

As aficionados of all things feet, the staff at Parker Foot & Ankle staff wants you to know that all heel pain is not the same, either. Just because your heel hurts doesn’t mean you have plantar fasciitis.

There are a variety of other causes of painful heels:

  • Sprain – A stretching or tearing of a ligament
  • Fracture – A crack in the heel bone
  • Bursitis – An inflammation of a cushioning sac between bone and tendon
  • Achilles problems – When the tendon tears or becomes inflamed
  • Plantar fasciopathy – Degeneration of the plantar fascia under your arch
  • Pinched nerve (Tarsal tunnel syndrome or nerve entrapment)
  • Gout – Ssually in the big toe, but can affect the heel, too
  • Neuropathy – Nerve damage caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels
  • Fat pad degeneration – Often from aging
  • Arthritis – Especially the rheumatoid type

Each condition affects different tissues and causes different types of discomfort—from aching to burning to sharp, stabbing pain. You need a foot doctor who understands the myriad possible causes for heel pain and can correctly diagnose them. Our practice uses multiple tools, including diagnostic ultrasound and the MEHPS (that is, multiple etiology heel pain syndrome) questionnaire to ferret out the underlying reason for your sore heels.

This is key to understanding how to treat your discomfort. Steroids will help with inflammation, but may do more harm than good for a sprain. Orthotics can help plantar fasciopathy, but nerve entrapment may require a surgical procedure to relieve the pressure. Only by being intentional about correct diagnosis can we find the best treatment modality.

Our Houston-area patients trust us to diligently pursue the reason for their condition and provide the correct remedy. You can count on us, too. Just call Parker Foot & Ankle at (281) 497-2850 and set up your appointment, or schedule one online, and prepare to be pain free again.

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