Heel Pain

Steven P. Royall, DPM -  - Podiatrist

Mountain View Foot Clinic, LLC

Steven P. Royall, DPM

Podiatrist located in Lehi, UT & Murray, UT

If you’re an athlete, dancer, or a worker who lifts heavy loads, you may start to feel pain in your heel. Heel pain can come from multiple sources: a ligament called the plantar fascia on the bottom of your foot; Achilles heel, which is tendonitis at the base of the heel or just above it; or bone spurs, are just three of possible causes. Dr. Steven P. Royall, DPM, with Mountain View Foot Clinic, LLC, in Lehi and Murray, Utah, treats patients with heel pain every day. Don’t miss out on your normal activities! Call the office or book an appointment online now.

Heel Pain Q & A

What causes heel pain?

Your heel absorbs an incredible amount of impact when it hits the ground when you walk or run. Just when walking, the stress on your foot can be 1.25 times your body weight. Your heel is one of the rigid supports for your weight. There’s no surprise that it’s susceptible to damage. The most common causes of heel pain are biomechanical and include the following:

  • Achilles tendonitis, commonly called Achilles heel, begins as mild pain at the back of your heel or slightly higher up the Achilles tendon. The area can become stiff, with sharper pain after vigorous activity.
  • Plantar fasciitis is an inflamed plantar fascia, a ligament that extends from your toes to your heel. When your gait is not properly aligned when you walk, your foot mechanics don’t work correctly and the plantar fascia can be stretched too far, causing pain and swelling under the heel and/or at the front of the foot.
  • A heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bone mass that protrudes outward under your heel bone. Heel spurs often appear if you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Athletes who run and jump are prone to heel spurs because of the extreme stress on the muscles and ligaments in the foot and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel.
  • A stress fracture usually results from heavy stress on the heel from rigorous exercise, sports activity, or manual labor. Stress fractures are common in athletes and dancers. They can also result from osteoporosis and arthritis in the bone.

What are the best treatments for heel pain?

Dr. Royall uses ultrasound, a physical exam of your feet, and observation of your gait to diagnose and treat cases of heel pain. He uses conservative treatment for plantar fasciitis and Achilles heel tendonitis, prescribing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ice, and rest! He may also prescribe a night splint which gently stretches your plantar fascia. If you still have pain with these remedies, Dr. Royall injects a steroid into the painful spot.

If the steroid does not significantly improve the condition, Dr. Royall performs a new, minimally invasive and non-surgical procedure known as the Tenex FAST (Focused Aspiration of Soft Tissue) procedure which removes the tissue causing your pain.

Treatments for heel spurs and associated conditions include custom-made orthotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid injections. If conservative treatments fail, Dr. Royall uses the Tenex FAST procedure or traditional surgery, depending on the case.