Ask the Doctor – Nov. 12, 2010

Q: I experience pain in my heel every morning. What could this be? Is there any treatment I can seek?

A: Heel pain can be caused by the ligaments, or “fascia,” in the foot becoming inflamed or injured. When this scenario plays out at the bottom of the heel, the pain is typically caused by plantar fascitis. When the pain is in the back of the heel, it is usually the result of achilles tendinopathy. Both can be treated with stretching, splints and anti-inflammatory medicine. If these fail, surgery is recommended. A new, less-invasive procedure that results in a shorter recovery time is emerging: radiofrequency microdebridement, or the Topaz procedure. The Topaz device can be used through a very small incision to not only remove degenerative tissue, but also to stimulate it to heal. Although Topaz trials are ongoing, the early reports are promising.

Karas Emory jpSpero G. Karas, MD
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Emory Healthcare Sports Medicine

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