Heel pain is one of the most common foot conditions I treat in my clinic every day. Surprisingly, it is also one of the conditions patients have the most misconceptions about – both its cause and its treatment. Many patients believe heel pain is associated with a bone spur when, in fact, heel pain has a variety of causes including: being overweight, poor foot mechanics, a change in activity levels, wearing improper footwear, aging, trauma and even poor ground conditions. One of the difficulties in treating heel pain is that patients think they only have to support their condition while at work. In reality, when heel pain is symptomatic it needs to be supported all day long, at home and at work.
This January, a 53-year-old male patient visited my office after living with pain and discomfort following the surgical removal of a Morton’s Neuroma from his left foot 12 months earlier. A Morton’s Neuroma is an injury to the nerve that gives sensation to two adjacent toes, typically the 3rd and 4th toes. When the nerve between the toes becomes aggravated and compressed, it causes severe pain at the base of the toes and the ball of the foot, sometimes causing pins and needles in the toes. The post-surgical pain was affecting all aspects of his life, including his job performance as he was required to stand for long periods at work. Although the patient had been seeking a solution to his pain and discomfort for many months, he had delayed getting treatment simply because he did not know where to turn. Fortunately he saw my clinic sign one day and decided to make an appointment.
As someone who enjoys cycling, running, skiing and mountain biking, I know how important it is to be able to participate in the sports you love. Since becoming a Canadian Certified Pedorthist I have seen many patients who thought they would no longer be able to continue the physical activities they enjoyed after suffering a major injury. Fortunately, I’ve also seen their surprise and delight when pedorthic treatment got them back in the game.