Heel Pain Management: How to Prevent and Treat Discomfort
Typically, heel pain is caused by stress on the bone or ligaments of the heel. It can also result from a heel fracture or from running on hard surfaces or poor shoes.
Most heel conditions respond to home treatment like rest, NSAIDs, ice packs and stretching exercises. But if the pain is persistent, you should see a podiatrist (foot doctor). They will examine the foot and ask about your symptoms and activity level.
Wear the Right Shoes
As a part of the body’s support structure, feet have to endure tremendous stress. Walking alone can exert over 60 tons of pressure on the feet. This impact can cause a variety of heel conditions and pain. Taking preventative measures like wearing comfortable shoes that offer support and cushioning for the feet is essential for preventing the onset of heel pain and resolving it should it occur.
Wearing shoes that do not fit well or are too high can change the way your foot moves when you walk, which can cause a variety of issues in the feet and ankles, including plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, called the plantar fascia, swells or tears. It is the most common type of heel pain and can be exacerbated by wearing heels, walking on hard surfaces or exercising for long periods of time.
Another common cause of heel pain is bursitis. Bursitis is inflammation of fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, that are located between tendons and bones to cushion them and allow for fluid movement. Heel bursitis can be painful, and symptoms include a tender spot in the back of your heel or a tingling sensation when you put weight on your foot.
Heel spurs, which are bony protrusions that develop on the back of your heel bone, can also be a source of pain. They are caused by the repeated stress of putting too much pressure on your foot and can be aggravated by shoes that do not provide adequate arch support. Heel spurs are also more likely to be present in athletes and can be a result of an over-use injury such as a sprain.
If you are experiencing any kind of heel pain, it is important to see a heel pain Bendigo doctor right away. They can determine the underlying issue and recommend treatments. Treatments may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, icing and in some cases surgery to help relieve the pain. They will often order X-rays to check for bone fractures, joint damage and to rule out other causes of your heel pain.
Getting enough rest helps reduce inflammation and heal the foot and heel. You can take steps to get more sleep at night, avoid running or walking for long periods of time and walk on softer surfaces. It’s also a good idea to stretch the feet and legs, particularly the calf muscles. You can do this by standing with one leg on the edge of a chair and holding your other leg up behind you. You can then slowly bend your knee to feel a stretch in the calf muscle.
Heel pain is caused by a variety of reasons, such as inflammation, bone changes and nerve compression. It can affect the bottom, side or back of the heel and may also cause pain in the Achilles tendon.
The most common type of heel pain is called plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the tissue (fascia) that connects the base of your toes to your heel bone becomes irritated and inflamed. This happens when the fascia is stretched beyond its normal extension, often due to wearing poorly-fitting shoes and high-impact activities such as running or jumping. This can lead to tears and stretches in the fascia, which causes pain. The pain is most noticeable when you first step down on the heel in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time.
Other types of heel pain include calcaneal apophysitis, which is when the center of your heel bone becomes irritated and painful. This is a condition that’s commonly seen in young, active children between the ages of 8 and 14. It is a result of repetitive micro-trauma to the growth plates on the heel bone caused by new footwear, increased athletic activity and other factors.
Heel bursitis is another type of heel pain that involves inflammation of a fluid pocket, or “bursa,” that cushions and lubricates areas where tissues rub against each other. This condition usually affects the back of your heel and is more likely to happen if you spend a lot of time on your feet or are a runner.
Ice is one of the most effective ways to ease heel pain. A ten minute period of icing two or three times per day will decrease the inflammation that causes heel pain. However, it is important not to ice the heel right after you walk or stand up. This could cause a loss of coordination, and you may fall and injure your foot or ankle. It is also recommended that you not ice the first thing in the morning, but wait until after your feet have a chance to wake up and warm up a bit.
Heel pain is caused by a variety of conditions and injuries. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and occurs when the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes gets irritated and inflamed. This condition typically results from overuse. Runners and people who spend a lot of time on their feet are more prone to this type of heel pain.
Other types of heel pain include Achilles tendinitis, a condition that results from overuse of the body’s longest and strongest tendon. This overuse injury is common in athletes such as runners and basketball players. Bursitis is another common heel injury that occurs when the fluid-filled sacs called bursae swell up, which can lead to heel pain and stiffness. Haglund’s deformity is an enlarged bump on the back of the heel that can be caused by friction from shoes with high heels. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when tissue compresses the large nerve in the back of the foot, which can also cause heel pain.
It’s important to see a podiatrist if you have heel pain. They can diagnose the underlying cause of your heel pain and recommend the best treatment, which may include rest, ice, stretching exercises, shoe inserts or other orthotic devices and physical therapy. Changing to a more supportive shoe with shock-absorbing soles can also help alleviate your heel pain. It’s also important to avoid going barefoot at home and wear supportive slippers when you are sitting or standing for long periods of time.
See a Podiatrist
Evolve Podiatry can provide an accurate diagnosis for foot and ankle problems and help you determine a long-term treatment plan. Heel pain is often a sign of an underlying problem and can lead to serious health issues if not treated.
If you have pain in your heel that does not go away with over the counter medications, see a podiatrist right away. The longer you leave an injury untreated, the more likely it is to become chronic and lead to other complications like sprains or arthritis. It is also important to see a doctor if you are experiencing numbness or tingling in your feet as this could be a sign of nerve damage.
Some people who are not runners or athletes experience heel pain, and it can be caused by high or flat arches, ill-fitting shoes or overpronation (a condition where the foot rolls in too much when you walk). If you have a family history of gout or arthritis this can also cause pain in your feet.
When you visit a podiatrist for heel pain, they will perform a physical exam and may take X-rays. They will ask questions about your medical history, medications you are taking and any surgeries you have had. They will then examine your feet, check how you move and look at your shoes to make a proper diagnosis.
There are many different treatments for heel pain that the podiatrist can recommend. These treatments include foot and ankle exercises, shoe inserts called orthotics that can distribute weight more evenly, pain relievers, icing and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Heel pain can be a real nuisance and make it hard to do daily tasks or exercise. Seeing a podiatrist right away can prevent the pain from getting worse and help you get back to your normal life activities faster. It is also important to see a podiatrist if you have had an injury from months or even years ago as it may be having an effect on your current health. This is especially true if you are an athlete as re-injuring your feet can lead to a lot of problems.