Compared to some parts of the body, like knees and shoulders, your heel seems pretty basic. Despite its simplicity, however, heel pain affects approximately 10% of Americans — with the most common ailment, plantar fasciitis, accounting for 1 million visits to the doctor each year.
The good news is there are a variety of treatments available for this painful condition. At Ortho Wellness in Boca Raton, Florida, Dr. Mirylsa Colón-Martínez takes a holistic approach to caring for her patients. She may recommend steroid injections or surgery if more basic methods are no successful. Another option for stubborn pain that doesn’t respond to traditional treatments is a leading-edge regenerative medicine procedure such as amnio-placental tissue matrix injections.
Ultimately whether your heel pain is caused by a strain or sprain, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, or something else, she employs an individualized approach to diagnosis and identifies possible underlying issues in order to ensure proper treatment for long-term relief.
Often described as a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel upon arising in the morning and after sitting or standing for a long period, plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation in the thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes known as fascia. The fascia supports the muscles and arch of the foot. When the tissues are stretched too much, however, small tears can result on their surface, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Anyone can get plantar fasciitis, but it's more common in women, overweight individuals, and those who must stand for several or more hours a day. Risk increases with age as well.
Certain physical traits can also contribute to developing it, such as having flat feet or a very high arch, suffering from tight Achilles tendons, or exhibiting an abnormal gait or foot position. High-heeled shoes and footwear that is worn out, has thin soles or lacks support can also lead to plantar fasciitis.
Finally, people who participate in exercise that stresses the heel and attached tissue can be at higher risk. Some examples include long distance running, aerobics, and ballet.
There are a number of treatment options available — from over-the-counter pain relievers to ease inflammation and help with pain to physical therapy to strengthen the lower leg muscles. Also, night splints facilitate gently stretching the fascia and orthotics help ensure the proper distribution of weight on the feet. A steroid injection can help relieve pain for up to a few months.
In cases where pain hasn't gone away with the use of these common remedies after several months, another option is the injection of an amnio-placental tissue matrix. This treatment is a type of regenerative medicine based on the idea of using functional living tissues to repair or replace tissues whose operation has declined or ceased because of aging, damage, ailments, or congenital defects.
Amniotic membranes have anti-inflammatory properties that allow for less scar formation and growth factors that can help heal the tissue, thereby reducing pain. With amnio-placental tissue taken from human placental connective tissue, Dr. Colón-Martínez uses ultrasound-guided technology to inject the material into your heel. This procedure is minimally invasive and has been shown to significantly improve heel pain from plantar fasciitis after just one session.
If you've been suffering from heel pain that hasn't improved, call or click to book an appointment with Dr. Colón-Martínez today to get the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.