Initially the pain may present itself as a mild ache above the heel bone. The pain can become worse with activities such as running and jumping. The pain can become severe with prolonged physical activities. After periods of rest there may be stiffness to the ankle joint especially first thing in the morning.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The podiatrist will examine the area and may request diagnostic X-rays or an ultrasound to rule out problems of the bone or tearing.
Early treatment might involve oral anti-inflammatory medication, exercise and shoe recommendations, taping or strapping, or the use of shoe inserts or orthotic devices. Taping or strapping supports the foot, placing stressed muscles and tendons in a physiologically restful state. Physiotherapy may be used in conjunction with such treatments.
A functional orthotic device may be prescribed for correcting biomechanical imbalance, controlling excessive pronation, and supporting the ligaments and tendons attaching to the heel bone. It will effectively treat the majority of heel and arch pain without the need for surgery.
Only a relatively few cases of heel pain require more advanced treatments or surgery. Surgical treatment is only considered after all conservative therapies fail or a rupture occurs. Open repair of the achilles tendon is an option if a rupture is diagnosed and is deemed repairable. A MRI can help to confirm the extent of damage to the Achilles tendon. Any surgical treatment of the Achilles will require a lengthy recovery period due to the high possibility of re-rupture.
A variety of steps can be taken to avoid achilles pain and accompanying afflictions:
When to Visit a Podiatrist
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation—redness, swelling, heat—persist, limit normal daily activities and contact one of the podiatrists at the footinjuryclinic.