There are few professionals who understand the complexities of the feet and ankles as well as Dr. Merrick L. Horn. He has been in his podiatry office in Bay Harbor for over 40 years and is a skilled specialist. In addition to his medical knowledge and anatomical fluency, this board certified podiatrist is also an athlete with a subspecialty in sports injuries related to the lower leg, ankle and foot. He uses his knowledge of being a former athlete in serving his patients in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports injuries. Dr. Horn was an accomplished NCAA gymnast, and was a member of the gold medal winning 1981 USA Gymnastic team. He also served as a personal trainer specializing in lower extremity rehabilitation. As a specialist in comprehensive lower leg, ankle, foot, and toenail problems, Dr. Horn utilizes the latest technology available to serve the needs of his patients.
There are several causes for heel pain, but two common conditions are plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonosis. At his podiatry office in Bay Harbor, Dr. Horn will examine your feet to determine what condition you have and the best way to treat it. The plantar fascia is a thick ligament located on the bottom of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when this ligament becomes irritated resulting in stiffness and pain in the heel area. The irritation that causes the condition of plantar fasciitis occurs for many reasons such as long periods of standing, long periods of bed rest, ill-fitting shoes, overuse in sports training, weight gain and lack of flexibility. The Achilles tendon is a cord that runs from the calf muscle to the heel. The Achilles tendon can become inflamed due to small tears, resulting in heel pain and discomfort. This painful condition is called tendonosis. The symptoms and treatments for tendonosis are similar to those for plantar fasciitis. Pain and stiffening occurs in the heel area and is most noticeable after inactive periods such as when you first get off your bed in the morning or after long drives and at the start of a long walk or jog.
In most cases plantar fasciitis is a controllable condition and there are treatments to help ease the pain and discomfort. The most common suggestion is to wear better shoes and inner soles that will provide firmer support to the area. Relief can also be accomplished by stretching the calf and arch and by massaging the area and applying ice for ten minutes at a time, two times a day. If the symptoms persist, additional treatments include custom made orthotics, steroid injections, physical therapy, night splints, and cast boots. A new treatment used at his podiatry office in Bay Harbor that has proven to be very successful is Orthotripsy or ultra-sonic shockwave therapy. This is a non surgical, non invasive treatment that targets the affected area with shock waves that produces a pain relieving effect at the site and stimulates healing factors such as the formation of new blood vessels and tissue regeneration. The best way to begin treatment of tendonosis is to rest the foot, use heel cushions for elevation, stretching the Achilles tendon and icing the foot. Call us today and take the first step to eliminating your heel pain.