Sharp pain, aching of stiffness on the bottom of
one or both heels is a very common ailment. Adults develop the
problem most frequently, although children, too, can be affected if
the growing bone becomes irritated.
Causes of Heel Pain
Heel pain originated deep within the foot, directly on the heel
bone or within the foot's connective tissues, called the fascia.
Several layers of fatty tissue surround the heel bone, softening
the impact or walking and running and protecting the bones and
muscles of the foot. Beneath this padding, a fibrous band of
connective tissue (the fascia) extends from the heel bone, supports
the arch and reached across to the toes. Pain can result when these
tissues become irritated or inflamed, or when small spurs grow on
the heel bone.
Most cases of heel pain are characterized by inflammation.
First, the fascia begins to pull on the bone and the tissues become
irritated, then inflamed. Inflammation of the fascia is called
A projection or growth of bone may be called a spur, and can
grow where the muscles of the foot attach to the bone. While some
heel spurs are painless, others that are determined to be the cause
of chronic heel pain may require medical treatment or surgical
While injury, overuse or other temporary, mechanical causes can
bring on discomfort in the heel, a painful heel may also accompany
a more serious condition, such as: Gout, Arthritis, Psoriasis,
Collagen disorders, Nerve injuries, Heel bone abnormalities, or
Illnesses like these and other must be diagnosed and treated
separately. Your podiatric surgeon may refer you to a local
specialist if the problems are beyond his or her area of
Treatment of Heel Pain
In most cases, heel pain can be relieved without surgery.
Treatment may include self-care, medications, therapy or orthotics.
If nonsurgical medical treatments fail and pain persists, surgical
intervention may be necessary.
Both surgical procedures described below are usually completed
on an outpatient basis in less than one hour. They are performed
comfortably under either local anesthesia or minimal sedation
administered by trained personnel.
Removal of Connective Tissue
During surgery to separate all or a portion of the fascial
tissue from the heel bone, the podiatric surgeon will make a small
incision on the inside of the heel. Then, the tissue is carefully
cut away. A few stitches will be required.
Bone Spur Removal
Heel spurs may be removed during the same operation for
separating the connective tissue from the heel bone. After the
tissue has been detached, the podiatric surgeon will remove any
spurs, leaving the heel bone smooth.
Provided there are no complications, recovery is usually
complete in six to eight weeks. Normal daily activities can be
gradually resumed as soon as pain subsides or when recommended by
the podiatric surgeon. Unfortunately, prevention is not always
possible. If pain is related to too much activity or an abnormal
foot structure (such as flat feet or high arches), modifying the
daily routine to exclude activities that are stressful on the feet,
should be replaced with biking and/or swimming. If symptoms of heel
pain develop, icing the foot should begin immediately.
While these are some of the most commonly prescribed treatments
for heel disorders, other may be used. The podiatric surgeon will
determine which treatment is likely to be the most successful in
Ask your physician about surgical
procedures to correct heel pain at Lourdes.