Heel Pain that Won’t Heal – How to Treat Chronic Plantar Fasciitis. Seattle Heel Pain Specialist.

Author: Foot & Ankle Center of Washington

I want to talk for the next couple of minutes about chronic heel pain. So if you're someone who has had heel pain, maybe even diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and you haven't had the standard treatments and you're just not getting better, we have to consider that a chronic problem and look at how we treat that. Now, one of the good things is that there's been a tremendous amount of research on this over the last last maybe 10 or 20 years.

I would say there are a lot of different ways to treat this now that weren't available before. Prior to that, the only way to really treat this chronic plantar fasciitis that wasn't getting better was to do surgery, and surgery is almost never needed anymore. So, the condition that normally causes this chronic heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciosis, and that is different than plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia as it attaches into the heel bone here. Here is the plantar fascia coming down and attaching in down there. Plantar fasciosis is a condition where that plantar fascia has become thicker than it should be. Where that fascia attaches into the heel bone, it should be about 4 mm thick. However, in the presence of long-term inflammation or long-term damage to that area, that fascia becomes thicker and can consider it, where plantar fasciitis is an inflammation, plantar fasciosis is a thickening or scarring of that ligament, and it just stops healing.

So in order to get it to heal, we have to use a technique that stimulates the healing. And what we do is a little counterintuitive, but we do something that causes a little bit of trauma to that area, and by that causing that trauma, we stimulate the healing process again. This is used on the heel. It's also commonly used in the other tendons on the body, for example, at the elbow. So there's different ways to do it. There's probably five or six different techniques to accomplish the same thing. One of the more common ones is a procedure called shockwave therapy, where we use a machine to send shockwaves deep into that tissue, to try and stimulate that healing process. If you go to our website and do a search for "chronic heel pain," you'll find a detailed explanation of shockwave therapy and the other treatments that are available for it.

With all of these treatments, we also want to use orthotic devices to take tension off of the plantar fascia and pressure off the heel. So again, do some research on our website. If you're in our area and you're having chronic heel pain, it is one of our specialties, so please make an appointment to come see us. If you're not in our area, find a podiatrist that does specialize in heel pain and isn't going to rush into doing surgery on this problem.

Heel Pain that Won’t Heal – How to Treat Chronic Plantar Fasciitis. Seattle Heel Pain Specialist.

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