Frequent Questions for Heel Pain

Heel pain is the most common reason patients visit a podiatry office. Read through frequent questions that have been asked about this common foot and ankle condition, and then give Dr. Keith McSpadden a call.
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  • What causes sore arches?

    Sore arches can be caused by a wide variety of factors. If you have high arches or flat feet—especially flat feet that occurs later in life due to falling arches—you may be more susceptible to pain and soreness in this area than others, but it’s far from a prerequisite.

    Although plantar fasciitis is commonly thought of primarily as a form of heel pain, it is also a common cause of sore arches as well. That’s because the plantar fascia supports your arch as it runs all the way from your heel to your toes. 

    Other sources of discomfort may include stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in bones caused by repeated small impacts and overuse, arthritis, tendon sprains, muscle strains, and other injuries and conditions. Biomechanical issues like an abnormal gait, poor posture, or obesity may also put excess stress on your arches or prevent them from playing their shock absorption role properly.

    As you might imagine, a proper treatment plan will depend on a correct diagnosis of the underlying cause. Call Keith McSpadden, DPM at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for an appointment today by dialing (512) 593-2949.

  • What is the difference between custom and OTC orthotics?

    Over-the-counter orthotics are generic shoe inserts designed to provide relief for certain foot problems. They are made to fit standard shoes sizes and work best for those with fairly typical foot shapes and relatively common conditions. Although they may be made from a variety of different materials and vary in quality, they are usually not adjustable and may not provide adequate support for those with more significant foot problems. Insoles sold at pharmacies or sporting goods stores tend to be very low quality, but podiatry clinics or specialty running store may carry more durable and beneficial models.

    Orthotics are specially created just for you, based on a mold or scan of your foot. They are usually longer lasting and of higher quality, and they can be adjusted periodically as necessary. Custom orthotics often provide superior results compared to OTC alternatives, especially for those with more substantial problems or with less typical foot shapes.

    If foot pain or gait abnormalities are causing issues for you, please contact Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. We can help you determine what kind of foot insert, if any, is best for your circumstances. Request an appointment online, or call 512-593-2949.

  • Why is my heel pain worse in the morning?

    It's bad enough when your alarm clock jolts you awake, but when your first step yields a stabbing pain in your heel, it's definitely not a good way to start your day! Heel pain that is worse in the morning is a telltale sign of the common overuse injury, plantar fasciitis.

    Plantar fasciitis occurs when repeated stress is placed on your plantar fascia - the fibrous band of tissues that connects your heel to your toes. Tiny tears in the tissues lead to inflammation and cause heel pain and swelling. When at rest, the band contracts, but as soon as you take a step, it stretches tautly, pulling on the heel bone and causing pain.

    As you walk and the plantar fascia loosens up, the pain may go away - but don't be fooled! It will return after periods of inactivity.

    There are, however, things you can do to ease your pain, such as gentle stretches, wearing night splints, icing the area, and avoiding the recurring activity that brought on the condition in the first place. Orthotics can provide additional cushion and support, too, and injection or laser therapy can relieve pain and swelling.

    If you have heel pain that is worse in the morning, this is your wakeup call! Contact our Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX office for an appointment by dialing (512) 593-2949.

  • What could be causing my child's heel pain?

    Probably the most common cause of heel pain in kids, particularly during and around puberty, is Sever's disease. Kids' bones are still developing during this period, and the growth plate in the heel is sensitive. Repetitive stresses from running, jumping, and playing sports or tension from tight tendons, especially during a growth spurt, can cause swelling and pain.

    Other potential causes of painful heels in children may be related to obesity or faulty foot mechanics or structure—such as high arches or a tight Achilles.

    The good news is that children are, by and large, excellent healers—conservative therapies usually do the trick. That doesn't mean you should ignore your kids when they complain, though. Conditions that are not treated can result in more problems down the line and require the use of more aggressive treatments.

    When your youngster complains of heel pain, or you notice the telltale signs (limping, walking on toes, unwillingness or inability to run and jump normally), visit Austin's Dr. Keith McSpadden for gentle, compassionate, thorough care. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call 512-593-2949.