How do you Fix my Heel Pain?

There are many treatment options available to fix Heel Pain.  It is important to understand that Heel Pain is not a diagnosis. It simply describes the anatomical region you are having pain in.  What is important to know is WHAT anatomical structure is injured and causing your Heel Pain?  Some of the structures that can be damaged and cause pain in the heel are Plantar Fasciitis, Plantar Fasciosis, Heel Spurs or Heel Spur Syndrome,  Calcaneaus (heel bone) bone marrow edema or stress fracture and a Jogger’s Foot (Entrapped nerve on the medial (inside) of your heel).  It is critical to have an accurate diagnosis so that you can choose how to fix your Heel Pain.  Some heel pain treatments are more conservative than others, some are more effective and still some are more expensive than others.  If caught and treated early Heel Pain conditions will usually resolve with inexpensive and simple treatments.

Fix your Heel Pain by Removing the Aggravating Variable

To fix your Heel Pain remove the variable that is either causing your Heel Pain or contributing to it.  For example; if running is irritating it and you keep running it will worsen and can lead to permanent damage to your Plantar Fascia or the Calcaneus (Heel Bone).  Whatever activity  is aggravating your Heel Pain must be stopped temporarily.

There are multiple causes of Heel Pain

There are multiple causes of Heel Pain

Fix Heel Pain with Rest

Rest from activity, especially those activities that require running, jumping, walking or any other weight bearing activity.  If you are on your feet at work and this aggravates your Heel Pain it may be necessary to take time off or request a modified job position until you heal.  No amount of ice or Ibuprofen will help if you continue aggravating your Heel Pain.  This is the second step in how you fix Heel Pain.

Do I need Crutches to Fix my Heel Pain?

It may be necessary to be non-weight bearing to fix your Heel Pain (but not typical).  This will usually be dictated by the severity.  Crutches are cheap and effective.  Other methods include wheelchairs, knee scooters and Peg-Legs.

Crutches for Metatarsalgia

Modern day Peg-Leg to Fix Heel Pain

Do I need a Walking Boot for my Heel Pain?

Instead of crutches a walking boot that has a stiff soled rocker bottom might be your best option.  There are many types and varieties of walking boots but the variable that makes them effective in treating Heel Pain is a stiff soled, rocker bottom which prevents loading of the Heel region.  I have found the addition of a gel heel cup dramatically improves the comfort of the boot.  As your Heel Pain improves it might be possible to transition to a rocker bottom walking or running shoe.  This is the third step in how to fix your Heel Pain.

Walking boot for metatarsalgia

Rocker bottom boots and shoes reduce the pressure on the Heel Region. The addition of a gel Heel Cup improves the comfort level.

Over the Counter Orthotics to fix my Heel Pain

Over the counter orthotics are a cheap but usually ineffective method to fix Heel Pain.  If the over the counter orthotic is going to have a chance at being effective it must have a heel cut-out and must be comfortable.  If the orthotic  irritates the heel region you will not be able to improve.  Finding the right orthotic with a heel cut-out that is both comfortable, effective and is the fourth step in how to fix Heel Pain.  If this step fails you should consider the next step, custom orthotics.

If you have tried orthotics in the past and they were painful they were most likely too hard, too high or not manufactured properly,.  San Diego Running Institute can modify your current uncomfortable and ineffective over-the-counter orthotics.

insoles for Heel Pain

SDRI can modify your insoles to fix your Heel Pain

Can Custom Orthotics Fix my Heel Pain

Custom orthotics can be an effective in fixing Heel Pain.  In order to be effective, they must fit into your shoes, be comfortable and have a heel cut-out as part of the custom orthotic design.  Proper height, size, density and location of the heel cut-out is critical to it being effective.  If you have custom orthotics that are uncomfortable, do not fit into your shoes or aggravate your heel region you will be unable to improve. If you have an uncomfortable or ineffective pair of custom orthotics either without a heel cut-out or that is uncomfortable they may be able to be modified for a fraction of the cost off new custom orthotics. San Diego Running Institute charges $167 to modify your existing orthotics and make them both comfortable and effective.  Custom orthotics are the fifth step in how to fix Heel Pain.

This Orhotic is less than $50 at SDRI

This Orhotic is less than $50 at SDRI

Fix Heel Pain or Heel Spurs with a Heel Cut-Out

Notice the Pedag orthotic above. It has a heel cut-out with a cushion fill as part of its design.  Height, density, size and proper placement are critical for the heel cut-out to be effective.  There is a proven and scientific method to ensure proper placement of the heel cut-out.  Once modified with a heel cut-out and filled with foam your orthotic will offload the heel region allowing it to get better.  If the heel cut-out is uncomfortable or aggravates the heel it will not be effective.  This is why you want a professional to modify your existing insoles and make a proper heel cut-out. San Diego Running Institute can help you choose the correct orthotic and place the heel cut-out in the precise location.  Modifying an existing orthotic and placing a heel cut-out can be either the fourth, fifth or sixth step in how to fix your heel pain.

Can Taping Fix my Heel Pain?

There are a lot of websites and Youtube videos out there professing to fix your heel pain with KT Tape, Rocktape or Kinesiotape to name a few.  Unless your heel pain is being caused specifically by Plantar Fasciitis taping will probably not help your heel pain in any significant way.  if you have Plantar Fasciitis and want to learn the best Ktaping for it schedule an appointment with us.

taping for my heel pain

We can teach you to tape for Plantar Fasciitis

Ultrasound to Fix my Heel Pain

Ultrasound can be an effective treatment for Heel Pain when combined with some or all the above interventions.  Ultrasound can be used to break up scar tissue and increase blood flow into the Plantar Fascia, Calcaneus and Medial Calcaneal Nerve.  The Plantar Fascia is notorious for having a lack of blood flow.  Blood is required for these structures to heal.  When other conservative methods have failed Ultrasound, treatments are your next step in how to fix your Heel Pain.  At San Diego Running Institute we routinely employ ultrasound to fix Heel Pain.

therapeutic ultrasound to fix my heel pain

Ultrasound is a key component in fixing Heel Pain


Alter Gravity Treadmill (AlterG)

The AlterG is one of the most modern and effective treatments for Heel Pain and allows the patient to run or walk while their heel condition is improving.  The AlterG does this by “unweighting” a person until there is not enough pressure on the Heel to cause pain.  Once this is achieved the patient can run or walk without aggravating their Heel Pain.  This allows them to keep up their cardio, continue to train for an event and stimulates blood flow into the Calcaneal (Heel) structures (Plantar Fascia, Calcaneus and Medial Calcaneal Nerve) to speed healing.  The AlterG has become one of our best interventions in how to fix Heel Pain.

Anti Gravity Treadmill for foot pain

Kobe Bryant rehabilitating on the AlterG

Will Cortisone Injections Fix my Heel Pain?

Cortisone is not recommended for Heel Pain conditons.  Cortisone is a catabolic hormone meaning it breaks things down (as opposed to an anabolic hormone that builds tissue).  While it does break down inflammation it also breaks down tissue, in this case your Plantar Fascia.  This can cause long term damage to the Plantar Fascia and is therefore not recommended. 

not recommended to fix my heel pain

not recommended to fix my heel pain

Do I need Surgery to Fix my Heel Pain?

Surgery is not usually necessary in order to fix Heel Pain.  However, if you go to a surgeon and they recommend surgery……. what did you expect.  Your Heel structures (Plantar Fascia, Calcaneus, Medial Calcaneal Nerve), if treated conservatively will almost always heal and not require surgery.

Surgery is not typically necessary to fix my heel pain

Botched surgery trying to fix Heel Pain

If you need more information about how to fix Heel Pain please email or call San Diego Running Institute at 858-268-8525.