Herniated Disc Heel Pain


Disc problems in the lumbosacral area can cause radiating pain symptoms which, in severe cases, can travel down the leg and into the foot. Herniated disc heel pain is an indicator of sciatic nerve impingement. This condition can be exacerbated with the body’s protective response of muscular tightening which puts more pressure on the nerve.

Herniated Disc Basics

A herniated or bulging disc occurs when the shock absorbing gel-like disc of the spinal column leaks out of the confines of the space between each vertebral or spinal bone. This protrusion can put pressure on the nerves stemming from the bones. Symptoms of a herniated disc can range from no pain to localized pain in the area of affected disc to radiating symptoms into another area of the body.

Cause of Herniated Disc Heel Pain

Herniated disc heel pain occurs from sciatica or when the disc material impinges or presses on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve begins in the low back and travels down the posterior leg to the foot. It supplies sensation and allows movement of the leg. An abnormal disc in the lumbosacral area, the low back or sacrum, the triangular bone which makes up the pelvis, can cause symptoms from the low back to the buttocks and down the posterior leg to the heel, foot or even the toes.

Conservative Treatment of Herniated Disc Heel Pain

Conservative treatment of herniated disc heel pain caused by sciatica includes pain and inflammation management. Pain medications or muscle relaxants can help ease discomfort and muscle tightness to aid in the release of the sciatic nerve. Anti-inflammatory medications aid in decreasing inflammation or swelling which can aggravate back and heel pain. Another treatment option is physical therapy for pain-relieving modalities and stretching techniques coupled with an exercise program to coax the protruding disc back into place and strengthen the area.

Advanced Treatment of Herniated Disc Heel Pain

In severe cases where conservative methods fail to provide relief of symptoms, it may be necessary to utilize more advanced treatment techniques for herniated disc heel pain. Injections of corticosteroids into the area of irritation can ease inflammation and provide relief of pain. Surgical options include removing the portion of the disc compressing the nerve and causing sciatica symptoms, fusion of the spinal bones to eliminate leakage, and disc replacement. Surgical options should only be considered if symptoms are severe and progressing.

Prevention of Herniated Disc Heel Pain

Preventing herniated disc heel pain involves management of the disc protrusion. In other words, performing a regular stretching and exercise program and practicing proper body mechanics with all activities, even sedentary things like sitting or standing. Instituting good posture and a healthy, active lifestyle will help avoid further damage to the spinal bones or disc, and aid in to maintaining optimal muscle strengthen and length to reduce back, leg and heel discomfort.

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  • The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy; Robert Berkow, MD, Editor-in-Chief; 1987
  • Spine Universe
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