See a Heel Pain Specialist in Chattanooga
Get proper medical attention for your heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Our foot and ankle doctor welcomes Spanish- and English-speaking patients in and around Chattanooga. Book a visit today.
Your heel pain will be treated by our board-certified foot and ankle doctor, Dr. Maria Pacheco, DPM, who has over 9 years of experience in helping people recover from plantar fasciitis. Apart from being certified with the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Pacheco is also certified in Foot Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Throughout her years of experience, Dr. Pacheco has encountered plantar fasciitis in different levels of severity. Our team will put together a treatment plan, so you’ll recover quickly.
Get to know your doctor.
Dr. Maria Pacheco
“Everything that I have heard bout Dr. Pacheco is true – she is professional and very kind and interested in your condition!”
Plantar Fasciitis: Your Condition Explained
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a long, thick ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. From the heel, its thick central band extends into five thinner bands, each connected to a toe. The plantar fascia serves as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot as you stand, walk, jump, and run.
Although the plantar fascia is built to carry your weight, it can only take so much tension and stress. Overuse can lead to small tears and inflammation, which in turn leads to pain. Plantar fasciitis is a common condition, especially among runners.
Plantar fasciitis manifests as a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot, usually near the heel. The patient may also feel pain in the middle of the foot. Most of the time, plantar fasciitis affects only one foot, but it can affect both.
- Pain in the morning. For many people, it’s most painful during the first few steps after waking up.
- Standing for a long period causes increased irritation or inflammation, leading to pain.
- Standing after rest. People feel pain when standing after sitting or lying down for a long time.
- Climbing is painful and difficult.
- After activity. People with plantar fasciitis rarely feel pain during exercise, but rather, after stopping the activity.
The plantar fasciitis is shaped like a bowstring, which absorbs shock as your feet move. Repeated stretching or too much stress tears the tissue. In response to the injury, inflammation occurs, which leads to pain and stiffness.
In most cases, plantar fasciitis develops without a single, identifiable reason. There are, however, people who are more likely to get the condition.
- Although the plantar fascia is designed to carry our weight, the excess pounds put greater stress on the tissues, making the ligament more prone to tears.
- As we age, the plantar fascia becomes weaker. People between 40 and 70 have a higher chance of injuring their ligaments.
- Certain Jobs. Occupations that require you to stand for long periods put you at a greater risk. These include jobs in healthcare, construction, factories, restaurants, and grocery and retail stores.
- Certain Exercises. Some activities place a lot of stress on the plantar fascia, like long-distance running and ballet dancing. In fact, plantar fasciitis accounts for about 8% of all running injuries.
- Foot Mechanics. Some people are born with feet that are prone to the condition. A flat foot or high arch, for instance, affects weight distribution on the foot, which may place greater stress on the plantar fasciitis compared to other individuals.
Is Plantar Fasciitis Caused by Heel Spurs?
Heel spurs are calcium deposits on the underside of the heel bone. It forms a bony protrusion that can be half an inch long.
For a long time, people believed that plantar fasciitis is caused directly by heel spurs. However, this is not always true. Only a tenth of people have heel spurs, and only 1 out of 20 people with heel spurs report foot pain.
This means that, even if you have heel spurs, your plantar fasciitis can be treated without removing your heel spur.
During Your Visit
Dr. Pacheco may perform a physical exam to confirm if your plantar fascia has been injured. She checks for mild redness and tenderness and locates the pain.
Tests are usually not necessary. However, in some cases, the podiatrist needs tests to confirm that the heel pain is plantar fasciitis and rule out possible issues. X-rays, for instance, may reveal fractures, arthritis, or heel spurs that cause the pain.
Dr. Pacheco prescribes treatments based on your condition. This list of treatment methods is general information only; this does not constitute medical advice from our clinic. Please schedule an appointment to plan the appropriate treatment for your heel pain.
A vast majority of patients with plantar fasciitis improves with only conservative treatments.
- Medication. Dr. Pacheco may prescribe medication to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Rest. While your plantar fascia heals, stay away from activities that stress the ligament. You may have to stop athletic training where your feet come in contact with hard surfaces.
- Icing. Ice constricts the blood vessels, which in turn decreases the circulation to the area. As a result, it helps reduce swelling and inflammation. Dr. Pacheco may advise you to ice your foot multiple times a day.
- Orthotics. Heel pads, thick soles, and custom orthotics cushion the foot as you stand and walk, decreasing the tension on your plantar fascia.
- Physical Therapy. If your case requires physical therapy, the exercise program strengthens the calf muscles, decreasing the workload on your foot.
- Injections. Our podiatrist may prescribe injections to help with the inflammation and pain.
ESWT and Surgical Treatments
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment where the physician uses high-energy shockwaves to stimulate healing in your tissues.
Surgery is used in extremely rare cases where the plantar fasciitis didn’t respond to continuous non-invasive treatments. Several types of surgery may be used for plantar fasciitis, including:
- Gastrocnemius Recession
- Partial Release Procedure
If you don’t have plantar fasciitis but are at risk of developing the condition, keep these prevention methods in mind.
- Choose shoes that provide the right support. Proper footwear decreases the workload of your plantar fascia.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. A normal weight won’t put excess stress on your feet.
- Warm up before training. This ensures your muscles are well-supplied with oxygen and decreases the risk of any injury.
Find Out the Right Treatment for Your Heel Pain
Let Dr. Pacheco form a treatment plan for your plantar fasciitis.
About Our Chattanooga Clinic
Years of Experience
Feedback from the people we have had the privilege to help:
"She truly care for her patients! Dr. Pacheco takes her time with each patient, as if she has all day! She is very thorough in her work, always has a smile on her face!!"
If she had not diagnosed my Charcot Foot, hospital would have sent me home. I could not walk and my bones were breaking. Thanking God for sending her our way.
"Awesome staff and doctor. They take time time and care for their patients. To explain to you they way that you understand"
Dr. Pacheco is always professional. She is knowledgeable, friendly, and explains things in a way the average patient can understand.
Dr. Pacheco is an intelligent and understanding doctor. She improved my problem in a short amount of time. She is very nice and friendly.
Years of Experience
9 Years of Experience treating foot and ankle ailments of all types
We look forward to helping you next!
Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic builds a relaxed and calm atmosphere where patients can feel comfortable. Our team recognizes that heel pain stops you from fun activities and even normal daily activities. Our clinic is a safe place to jumpstart your recovery.
Advice for Patients
Our clinic keeps abreast of developments of the foot and ankle pathologies to provide our patients with proper medical care. We also examine all aspects of your health and not only your heel pain.
Rehabilitation of Foot and Ankle
Our goal is your fast recovery, so you can go back to living your best life. Your condition will be explained in detail, and your treatment options will be discussed thoroughly.
Empathy for Our Patients’ Condition
Regardless of the severity of your heel pain, our team will provide you with the medical attention you needed. Even if the heel pain is common among runners, you won’t get less care from our podiatrist. Our clinic upholds empathy for all patients.
Recover from Your Heel Pain Today
Book an appointment today, so you can start healing.