How Custom Orthotics Help Relieve Heel Pain
Whether you work on your feet for hours at a time, or you like to stay active in your favorite sports, or you are a senior with many miles on the odometer, heel pain can certainly affect you negatively. In fact, chances are you have experienced this frustrating problem at least a few times in your life.
At Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona, heel pain is one of the most common symptoms we treat. And with the average person taking 8,000 steps each and every day, it’s easy to understand why this problem is so common. (But make no mistake: common does not mean “normal.”)
Patients will usually come to visit our office complaining of heel pain they have been feeling for weeks – or even months! But waiting for heel pain to seriously interfere with your life before getting proper treatment is a huge mistake – not only because the problem will probably get worse over time, but also because treating heel pain can be as simple as wearing a pair of custom orthotics.
Custom orthotics therapy is a tried-and-true treatment approach that has been effective in addressing heel pain conditions for many decades. But before we get into how these versatile medical devices can help you get rid of painful heels once and for all, it’s important that we determine what exactly is causing your discomfort in the first place.
First, let’s get one thing straight:
Heel pain is a symptom; not a condition. And there are many conditions that can cause this type of discomfort – plantar fasciitis being the most common.
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury of the plantar fascia, which is the long band of tissue that extends from the heel to the toes. The plantar fascia can become irritated and inflamed, causing pain underneath the heel (or right in front of it), which is typically at its worst right after getting up in the morning, or after sitting for a long period of time.
Heel pain can also come about due to other conditions, including:
- Achilles tendinitis. An irritation or inflammation of the Achilles tendon that causes pain in the back of the heel.
- Bursitis. An inflammation of the fluid-filled bursa sac that causes pain in the back of the heel.
- Arthritis. That can be caused by disease, trauma, or wear and tear anywhere in the heel.
- Hanglund’s deformity. A bony bump that causes pain in the back of the heel.
- Nerve damage. Any pinching or obstruction on sensory nerves can also cause pain anywhere in the heel.
- Sever’s disease. The most common cause for heel pain in children and adolescents, Sever’s disease is an irritation to the growth plate of the heel bone.
No matter what is causing your discomfort, however, we want you to know that you don’t have to keep living with this frustrating problem. At Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona, we specialize in heel pain treatment, including custom orthotics therapy.
But What Are Custom Orthotics?
Custom orthotics are shoe inserts designed to balance and correct biomechanical deficiencies in the feet and legs. The “custom” part of this is, in fact, what makes these versatile devices a great way of treating not only heel pain but a wide range of other foot and ankle conditions. They are made to fit your unique foot shape and structure, and provide the exact support and cushioning you need.
Custom orthotics are typically divided into two categories, based on the conditions they treat and their overall functionality:
- Accommodative. This type of orthotic is designed to provide support and cushioning to those areas of the foot that may need relief from pain and protection against undue pressure. They are typically made from soft yet firm materials to provide both support and comfort.
- Functional. This type of orthotic is designed to control any abnormal motions of the foot, like overpronation. Because of this, functional orthotics are typically made of relatively rigid materials to better control the way the foot moves. (That doesn’t mean they aren’t comfortable, however!)
Depending on your specific condition, we may even combine elements from both categories. The only way to find out for sure, however, is by coming to our office for a better evaluation. It may be the case where other treatment options may also be recommended … which takes us to our next point.
There are Plenty of Treatment Options for Heel Pain
Of course, we also provide a wide range of alternative treatment options, like stretching, platelet-rich plasma therapy, MLS laser therapy, and more. So there’s really no excuse to keep living with painful heels – the solution to your problem is only a phone call away!
Schedule your appointment today at (480) 963-9000, or simply fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.