Two of the most common causes of heel pain are plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, but occasionally a diagnosis is not the end of the story.
Sometimes these conditions are complicated by a heel neuroma, which is the swelling of a nerve that runs through the heel due to injury.
This swollen calcaneal nerve – also called Baxter’s nerve – can be unbearably painful and can cause lasting nerve damage if left untreated.
So, call us at the first sign of heel pain, or if you have been treated for these other conditions but the pain has not gone away.
To determine the cause of your heel pain, we will conduct a thorough examination of your feet including an in-office diagnostic ultrasound (which is a live video of the inside of your foot) and digital X-rays which will be reviewed with you.
We will examine the kind of shoes you typically wear and discuss your lifestyle and level of activity, which helps us determine the root cause of the problem and rule out any other potential conditions.
If you are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis or heel spurs, we will also check for a heel neuroma, which is done by pressing on the inside of the heel.
These symptoms may be different from the aching pain of plantar fasciitis. With this type of nerve issue, you may experience a tingling or burning sensation in your heel. It can also feel numb. You can have searing pain walking, sitting or even laying down.
The first line of treatment will address the plantar fasciitis or heel spurs that are causing the heel neuroma.
We might also recommend arch supports or orthotics to relieve the painful neuroma and allow the tissue to return to normal.
Other possible options, depending on the severity and level of pain, include corticosteroid injections, chemical neurolysis (via alcohol injection) and surgery, but only after we have exhausted all other treatment options.