In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of determining the specific cause of your heel pain. There are multiple possibilities, and each one can make for a different approach to treatment and recovery.
That’s all well and good, but what about the good stuff? What about that actual treatment you come in for?
Just as there are a variety of heel pain causes, there also exists a wide variety of heel pain treatments. They range from tried-and-true conservative methods to advanced, state-of-the art technologies. The one thing they all have in common is a record of effectiveness when used in the right situations.
Keep in mind as you review this list that not all treatments may be the best option for your particular heel pain case. Our best recommendations come after a full evaluation and review, and we will never suggest a treatment we don’t think has any chance of providing the relief you need.
Conservative Heel Pain Treatments
Sometimes, a simpler solution can be more than adequate for dealing with heel pain.
The types of treatments in this category have been around for a long, long time. They may involve simple changes to lifestyle, corrective devices, and common sense measures.
Such types of treatments can include:
- Changes in Footwear. You may be surprised at how much of a difference a different pair of shoes can make. Some shoes, such as high heels, are much healthier in moderation (or not worn at all). But shoes that seem supportive might not be, or might be too worn down to be effective. A pair that complements your foot structure and provides cushioning where needed may provide significant relief.
- Custom Orthotics. Shoes can do so much, but some cases may require a more specialized approach. Custom orthotics are inserts that can be placed in shoes that provide cushioning and support prescribed exactly for a patient’s foot structure, addressing abnormalities that are resulting in pain.
- Stretching/Physical Therapy. We can teach you exercises that can aid in minimizing symptoms and preventing injury. These are often effective by stretching and conditioning muscles or other soft tissues that are placing excess stress on certain areas.
- Icing and/or Anti-inflammatory Medication. Both measures can be affective at reducing pain and swelling, especially in the days following a sports injury.
- Rest. There is often no way around it; rest is necessary in many cases for allowing heels to heal. This may involve taking time off from certain activities or switching to more low-impact ones.
Advanced Heel Pain Treatments
Some cases of heel pain may not benefit as well from more conservative treatments, or would be especially responsive to something more advanced.
Advanced treatments build on technology and the world’s growing medical knowledge. They often incorporate the body’s own healing processes, amplifying or restarting them to accelerate recovery—sometimes even for chronic sources of pain.
Some of the advanced forms of heel pain treatment we can provide at our office include:
- Laser Therapy. It might sound counter-intuitive on the surface, but lasers can actually help aid in pain relief and recovery! A series of laser treatments at special frequencies and applications can stimulate an injured area to accelerate cellular repair and provide more blood flow to the area.
- Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment (EPAT). Whereas laser therapy can use light energy to stimulate recovery, EPAT uses high-frequency sound waves. Specific wavelengths of sound are directed at the site of a soft tissue injury, increasing blood flow and healing factors similar to a laser treatment.
- Radio Frequency Nerve Ablation (RFNA). This form of treatment uses radio waves that produce an electrical current. This, in turn, heats a portion of a nerve, interfering with its ability to sense pain. RFNA can be an effective form of treatment if a pinched or damaged nerve is causing trouble, and treating one nerve can have wider reaching impacts on pain relief than you might initially think!
- Regenerative medicine. This category of treatments is all about stimulating and accelerating the body’s own natural healing and repair mechanisms. At our office, we use an amniomatrix product derived from amniotic fluid and umbilical cord material. The product is made from voluntarily donated tissue after healthy births, and is rich in essential nutrients, proteins, and stem-cell derived growth factors your body uses to repair itself.
When Surgery is a Consideration
Surgery is never a first option. We only consider it when other methods have failed to yield the results we’re looking for, or it is clear from the beginning that they wouldn’t.
Surgery is an invasive process. While the ultimate goal is to provide a better situation in the end, it still involves altering the body in ways we would prefer to avoid with conservative measures whenever possible.
That said, Dr. Parker is an expert foot and ankle surgeon, including in extremity nerve surgery techniques that may be necessary if your heel pain is related to nerve entrapment or neuropathy. He will discuss with you all the pros and cons of undergoing certain procedures, and what you may expect before and after—all so you can make a confident, informed decision moving forward.
Mapping a Route to Heel Pain Relief
There are many paths to heel pain relief, and some will be more effective to certain people than others.
Don’t let this keep you from consulting us for help, though! The fact about having so many different treatments for heel pain is that at least one of them ends up effective in the vast majority of cases! And it’s not through guesswork, either; we review your condition fully to determine the best plan of action.
The sooner you begin treatment on a heel pain, the better and faster the results tend to be. Our Houston office is happy to hear from you! Schedule an appointment by calling us at (281) 497-2850 or by filling out our online contact form.