Heel Complication Specialists

Are you an athlete or an individual who is on their feet for most of the day? Over time and with frequent movement, heel pain may develop in many individuals. This pain may be caused by a bruise or swelling, a damaged tendon, bone spurs, fractures, or other conditions. If you are experiencing heel pain, it is important to see an experienced specialist to diagnose the cause of the pain. Complex foot and ankle specialists, Doctors Thomas Haytmanek and Jonathon Backus, have treated many patients in Vail, Aspen, and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities who have experienced heel pain. Contact The Steadman Clinic’s Sports Foot and Ankle team today!

What is Heel Pain?

Your feet take a beating every day. Every step you take, every stair you climb, the feet are doing the heavy lifting. While the feet are anatomically designed to withstand significant forces, too much stress sometimes overloads the foot leading to heel pain.

Individuals that experience pain in the heel or soreness in the heel area, will usually recover by eliminating activities that put additional stress on the foot, such as running and jumping. Some patients develop pain that is not relieved by rest and this may warrant an evaluation by one of our providers.

Some examples of this include:

  • Pain on the bottom of the heel: Symptoms that occur beneath the heel can vary from a simple bruise to chronic plantar fasciitis. Simple bruising on the heel from a rigorous strike of the heel usually goes away in a few days with rest. Pain on the bottom of the heel is frequently due to damage to the plantar fascia. Too much training, running, jumping, etc. can cause the fascia to become inflamed leading to swelling and pain. Pain is typically the worst in the morning and after prolonged activity. Please see the plantar fasciitis page for more information.
  • Pain Behind the Heel: Pain on the superior portion of the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts is also a common complaint. Soccer players, runners, and those participating in other sports where running is constant, are at greater risk for developing this particular type of heel pain. This is an inflammatory condition which can cause a bump on the posterior aspect of the heel.

What causes heel pain?

There can be several contributing causes to heel pain; the most common causes may include:

  • Tendonitis (Achilles)
  • Bone Spurs
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Fracture
  • Arthritis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bruising of the Bone
  • Ligament Tears or Ruptures
  • Gout
  • Obesity

What are the symptoms of heel pain?

Symptoms associated with heel pain will be based on the cause of the pain. Regardless if the pain is coming from directly beneath the heel, the top portion of the bone or behind it, the area of the foot will be inflamed and tender to the touch. Relief usually comes by resting the foot all together and/or not firing the Achilles tendon.

Are you experiencing heel pain?

There are two ways to initiate a consultation with the sports foot & ankle group:

You can provide current X-rays and/or MRIs for a clinical case review ($400).

You can schedule an office consultation.

How is heel pain diagnosed?

Our physicians will be able to diagnose a variety of heel conditions that lead to heel pain by completing a thorough physical exam and ordering a set of X-rays. Occasionally a CT scan or an MRI is necessary to evaluate the calcaneus (heel bone), the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.

Does heel pain require surgery?

Most cases of heel pain, regardless of the cause, can be treated conservatively with reset, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. If the pain persists and symptoms do not go away with 2-4 weeks, another set of tests should be considered.

What are surgical treatment options for heel pain?

Surgery for heel pain depends on the exact condition that is causing the heel pain. However, the majority of cases will be treated non-surgically. If surgery is needed, our physician have advanced techniques to help you recover more quickly.

How long does it take to recover from heel surgery?

It is essential that patients follow the post-operative protocol for recovery as set forth by our physicians as it remains a crucial part of the heeling process. Depending on the severity of the injury and the exact surgery performed, patients may resume normal activities within 6-8 weeks.

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