Choosing the right treatment plan to fit your needs is becoming more complex, but with the right guidance, there are successful options available for every lifestyle and budget.There are more treatment options available for your heel pain today than ever before.
There are two basic goals in getting you comfortable and returning you to your active lifestyle. Goal #1: Reduce the inflammation to eliminate the pain.
Goal #2: Address the cause of the problem to prevent this from continuing to happen. We’ll spend most of this blog discussing the best options available to eliminate your pain quickly, and then touch on the long-term plan. Hint: Think stability and support.
The traditional method for getting heel pain under control quickly was a series of cortisone injections. We’re recommending cortisone less and less, as more effective and longer lasting options have become available, and nobody really loves injections anyway, do they? Cortisone is a strong anti-inflammatory medication that is injected right into the area of tenderness. Here’s the skinny on cortisone; it can take effect immediately or it can take a few days to kick in. Since cortisone can cause its own inflammatory response, it can actually increase your pain for 24-48 hours. Cortisone can help for months, weeks, days, or not at all. Unfortunately, it’s hit and miss. One injection can help a lot, while another injection, even in the same person, may not even touch your pain. And cortisone has the potential for side effects, so we’re limited as to how many injections you can have.
Musculoskeletal Laser is the newest treatment in our arsenal in the fight against heel pain. It is an exciting therapeutic modality that can eliminate your pain without medications, injections or procedures, and the best part about it, is that it’s absolutely pain-free and very effective. The laser energy is absorbed by the tissues, which reduces the inflammation and pain and improves circulation to the affected area, helping to heal the damaged tissues. As the individual cells absorb this laser energy, it speeds up their metabolism, promoting faster healing.
Musculoskeletal Laser is performed in the office two to three times per week for a few weeks. Six to ten treatments may be necessary, depending on how quickly you improve. Some people feel better after just one treatment, while others may need three to four treatments to feel significant improvement. Each treatment takes less than ten minutes and again, is completely pain-free. Musculoskeletal Laser is not covered by insurance, but each treatment is no more than most copays today.
Cryoanalgesia is an excellent option if you’re looking for a one-time minimally invasive in-office procedure to knock that pain down quickly. “Cryo” means freezing, and “analgesia” means pain relief. It’s a six minute procedure performed under local anesthesia right in the office. A small probe is inserted into the heel and the tip of the probe freezes the small nerve endings that are causing your pain. There is no damage to the ligament and no numbness to the foot. Only pain relief. You’ll wear a Band-Aid for a few days. That’s it. Cryo is covered by most insurance plans.
Along with any of the three options above, you’ll want to perform stretching techniques at home and stay away from activities that aggravate your heel pain until significant improvement is noted. Oral and topical medications can help. Talk to one of our doctors about a comprehensive treatment program.
Lastly, and most importantly, to stay comfortable long-term you’ll need proper support and control for your fe
et, as most heel and arch pain is caused by instability in the way your feet function. Over-the-counter arch supports may help, but are usually not ideal, since they’re not designed to accommodate YOUR feet and don’t know the position that YOUR feet are supposed to function in. Custom orthotics are shoe inserts that will give your feet the exact support needed to prevent your heel pain from sidelining you again. Over-the-counter reading glasses won’t help if you really need prescription lenses. Same thing applies here.
If you’re looking for relief today, a cortisone injection may help. If you’re looking for a very effective tre
atment without injections, medications or procedures and is completely pain-free, Musculoskeletal Laser will be your friend. Lastly, consider cryoanalgesia for a one-time minor procedure to knock out your heel pain.
At Kansas City Foot and Ankle, our doctors treat heel and arch pain more than anything. Talk to our experts and discuss the treatment options that best fit your lifestyle. With lots of very effective choices available, why are you still living with your heel pain?