Heel Pain Causes, When to Contact a Doctor, and More

The heel is a densely thick and rounded bone in the base of the foot. This one bone delivers the primary support for the full weight of your body when you are standing and taking steps. If you have heel pain, it can be detrimental to your ability to get around.

What are the common causes of heel pain?

Heel pain can stem from a list of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bone spurs in the heel
  • Achilles tendinitis

Heel pain that comes on suddenly is most often related to an injury. The heel is a thick, dense bone, but it can sustain a fracture just like other bones. you may sustain a fractured heel during a fall, by jumping or falling from an especially high place, or if you have osteoporosis that weakens the bone.

Some people may also experience heel pain by wearing shoes that do not offer enough support or are poorly made. For example, flip-flops don’t always have enough cushioning for the heel and the lack of support for the rest of the foot can put more stress on the heel as well.

When should you seek a doctor’s opinion?

Any time you have a sudden onset of heel pain it is a good idea to seek a doctor’s opinion. In any other situation, it is best to see a podiatrist if your heel pain persists beyond a few days or is interefering with your ability to stand and walk.

How is heel pain treated?

The podiatrist in Austin, TX will examine your heel, perform physical tests to pinpoint the location of your pain, and may require an x-ray or MRI to get a closer look at the bone structures and tendons of your foot. Once they have determined the source of the problem, they will proceed with a treatment plan specific to your case. Something like a heel fracture may require medications to help with pain and inflammation and prescribed rest, while something like a heel bone spur may require surgery to correct.

Find Out More About Your Heel Pain with the Help of an Austin Podiatrist 

Heel pain may not always be something that comes and goes. Sometimes, it can signify the presence of an injury or deeper issue. Reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffrey Lamour DPM, PA to talk to our Austin podiatrist about your heel pain.

It’s National Bike Week! Learn to Address Heel Pain While Cycling

Get excited about cycling! This week is National Bike Week! As The League of American Bicyclists explains, this is “a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling—and encourage more folks to give biking a try.” This year’s emphasis is on biking to work, so the league particularly encourages you to pedal professionally. Of course, bicycling provides excellent exercise, gives you a chance to spend some time outdoors, and can save on gas, but it can be tough on your feet. In some cases, bicyclists’ heels take the brunt of this activity. In celebration of National Bike Week, Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, is here to help you address heel pain while cycling. Read on to find out how you can enjoy this special week while protecting your heels from harm!

How Can Biking Affect the Heel?

Riding a bike involves moving your legs and feet in ways you might not regularly. This can put your heel at an odd angle. In addition, the repetitive action of pedaling can put undue pressure on your feet. When riding a bike, you can stretch and impact your heels and the surrounding tissue.

Achilles Answers

According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (or, the AAPSM), cycling can lead to Achilles tendinitis: “irritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone can be caused by improper pedaling, seat height, lack of a proper warmup, or overtraining.” The Achilles tendon spans from the calf to the heel. If it becomes swollen, stretched, or otherwise damaged, this can cause heel pain. The AAPSM advises that Achilles tendinitis “can be treated with ice, rest, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory medications. Chronic pain or any swelling should be professionally evaluated.” If you are suffering from symptoms of Achilles tendinitis after biking, we recommend that you see Dr. LaMour for a professional diagnosis and customized treatment plan. This could include a regimen of special stretches, custom-fit orthotics, medications, and other therapies.

Pedaling with Plantar Fasciitis

Biking can also lead to a common condition called plantar fasciitis. Livestrong explains, “The plantaris muscle is a small, thin ankle muscles that attach to the inner, or medial aspect of the heel bone. It assists the larger calf muscles in flexing the ankle downward and works to increase lower leg proprioception, or the body’s awareness of where it’s at in nature.” This area becomes particularly vulnerable during rigorous bicycling. Livestrong goes on: “Incorrect pedaling technique and poor body mechanics are the source of the plantaris muscle creating heel pain from bike riding.” Plantar fasciitis is the number one reason for pain in the heel, whether on or off of a bicycle. Fortunately, similar to Achilles tendinitis, we can usually help you treat it with ice, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medications.

Biking Injuries

Especially if you’re hopping back on the bike for the first time in awhile for National Bike Week, it’s important to do so cautiously. If you ride over some rough ground or lose your balance, you could fracture one of the bones in your heel, pull a muscle, or injure your heel in some other way. Fortunately, if you are suffering from heel pain due to a bicycling sports injury, Dr. LaMour and our team can help. We will examine your foot carefully, diagnose the trauma, and design a treatment plan to have you back on your bike in no time.

Have Healthier Heels!

Whether or not you’re partaking in National Bike Week (and we hope you do!), it’s important to take care of your feet. Contact our Austin podiatry practice today to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. LaMour.

Original Source: https://www.drjefflamour.com/heel-pain/its-national-bike-week-learn-to-address-heel-pain-while-cycling/

Holiday Heels and Heel Pain

With the holiday season in full swing, there’s a lot to look forward to: special sugar cookies, brightly decorated trees, beautifully wrapped gifts, and cheer-filled events. The holidays are a great time to bust our your favorite sparkly dresses, and elegant coats. However, your cute, seasonal holiday high heels could put a damper on the festivities if they hurt your heels. Austin foot doctor, Jeffery LaMour, has made it his mission to help our patients enjoy the holidays without wrecking their feet. Our podiatry practice believes you don’t have to sacrifice your joyful holiday fashion for healthy, comfortable feet. In the following blog, we explain what to avoid in your seasonal shoes and our recommendations for better options.

The Science Behind Heel Pain

Every person’s feet are different, but there are a few key factors that could impact whether or not you suffer from heel pain after a night with your favorite stilettos. These include:

  • Sizing. You may be tempted to take advantage of year-end shoe sales, but if you end up purchasing heels that are too large or too small, you’re only making the problem worse. It’s better to sacrifice a shoe deal than have your feet wobble or be constricted all night. Remember that different brands can vary in their sizes, and it’s important to measure your feet every few years to get an update on your actual size.
  • Understanding your unique feet. Some have wider or narrower feet, while others suffer from calluses or bunions that could interfere with your heels. Style Caster’s Meghan Blalock writes: “a podiatrist would be the best way to know your foot type and what’s going on.” However, if you can’t come to our office right away, she recommends this technique: “Wet your foot and step onto a piece of construction paper. When you make an impression, it will show you how much your foot is flattening or how high of an arch you have. You can look at a person’s foot type and see why they are having pain.”
  • Stability. Sometimes, the most fashionable shoes are barely there at all. Thin little stilettos may be attractive, but they provide little to no support for your feet, virtually guaranteeing heel pain. The less shoe material there is, the more pressure it puts on your unprotected feet. Blalock advises: “the thicker the heel, the better…avoid thin soles, opting instead for a platform…[and] try a shoe with more coverage up top.”
  •  Your heel-wearing activities. What you do after you strap on your stilettos also has a bearing on your heel pain. In an article for Shape, Illinois podiatrist, Megan Leahy, notes: “If you have a choice between standing on a rug or standing on a wood floor, go for the softer surface. Standing on a rug is like having a cushion in your shoe.” If you plan to be standing or walking most of the night, you’d do well to go with a more sensible shoe. In addition, Blalock urges: “take breaks. Kick your shoes off throughout the day and stretch your ankles and toes.”

Paying attention to these elements can help you prevent your holiday heel pain.

Our Pro-Podiatric Picks

Some people say: “beauty is pain.” Dr. LaMour and our team couldn’t disagree more! It’s hard to have a good time when your heels are hurting, and healthy feet are gorgeous. Fortunately, there are many foot-friendly fashions available today. A few of our selections include:

  • Dr. Joan Oloff’s shoe brand. According to ABC News, Dr. Joan Oloff is “a California podiatrist and shoe designer who decided to rethink the structure of her shoes.” While regular heels concentrate your body weight and pressure on certain areas, Dr. Oloff explains: “In my heels, your weight is evenly distributed throughout the foot. So because your entire foot is sharing that load, you don’t fatigue, the muscles don’t fatigue.” Becky Worley at ABC describes Dr. Oloff’s pumps as “beautiful and comfy.”
  • Worley also recommend shoes “from another podiatrist, Marion Parke…designed with intricate buckles and rich suede…exceedingly comfortable for the level of couture they provided.”
  • For a less expensive option, Worley writes highly of “Corso Como 4-inch heels: more reasonably priced in the $100 range and very comfortable…[a] favorite among the corporate dress crowd.”
  • In her TODAY article “Hip, hip, hooray for high heels that don’t hurt,” Charla Krupp names “BEST STILETTO. Kate Spade ‘Karolina,’ $250…[a] four-inch stiletto” that is “so comfy that one of our testers didn’t want to take them off, let alone give them back!” This shoe is also a multipurpose dress shoe dazzler, in “black patent leather” with “rounded toes.”
  • Julie Lopez Shoes. Good News Network reports on this brand, designed for women with bunions, but “a comfortable, fashionable heel for all women!…Hand crafted in Italy…[these heels] are wider in the fore-foot but still look great.” They’re also complete with “tiny slits in the sides that offer a bit of expansion that [Lopez] called Flex Innovation Technology.”

Dr. LaMour can offer further recommendations at your next appointment.

In addition, we can custom-make orthotics to make your heels that much more optimal. These personalized podiatric inserts fill the gaps in your heels and support your feet to help prevent pain.

Your Foot Doctor is Here to Help

With our expert assistance, you don’t have to deal with a “heel hangover” after your holiday events. For more advice and podiatric care, contact our office today. We look forward to scheduling your next appointment.

Healing Cracked Heels and Dry Skin

Most of us never even consider the skin of our heels—that is, until they become dry and cracked. Dealing with scratchy, dehydrated, broken heel skin can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. As the Institute for Preventive Foot Health explains, “cracked heels, also called ‘heel fissures,’ are a fairly common foot condition,” unfortunately. While “for many people they are merely a nuisance or cosmetic problem,” they can also become “painful” or even “bleed.” Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, and our team are here to help you handle any foot-related condition you come across. Read on to learn more about cracked heels and dry skin.

The Hassles of Heels

Even people who don’t otherwise have dry skin can suffer from cracked heels. In their article on the subject in Foot Vitals, Dr. Marc Katz and Dr. James Milidantri note: “The skin on our feet is naturally dry, unlike the skin on the rest of the body. The skin on our feet has no oil glands, so it relies on hundreds of thousands of sweat glands to keep our feet moisturized.” Heels are especially prone to this dry sensitivity, which can progress into split skin. Knowing that all heels have this tendency, it’s important to take particularly good care of yours.

Symptoms

Dry heel skin comes in several stages. Foot Smart describes: “One of the first signs of dry, cracked heel is formation of thick, discolored callus tissue that may cause pain with everyday pressure-related activities like walking or running.” Your skin may also turn red, yellow, or white, peel, flake, itch, or develop a rash. At this point, it is incumbent upon you to remedy your skin before it worsens. If you fail to treat this roughening skin, “you may eventually notice small or even deep breaks that may cause bleeding to occur.” This development could make being on your feet uncomfortable or even impossible. Furthermore, if still not handled, this open heel skin may swell or become infected, inflicting further damage on your feet.

Causes

There are many potential sources of dry, cracked feet.

Many include behavioral factors, such as:

  • Bathing in very hot water.
  • Using moisture-stripping soaps.
  • Turning up your home’s heating system, which can dry out the air.
  • Exposing your heels to excessive sun.
  • “Standing for prolonged periods of time, specifically on hard floors,” according to Live Strong.
  • Wearing “thin-soled shoes that expose the heel of the foot,” per LiveStrong.

Fortunately, these are relatively easy to avoid, thus protecting your pads in the process.

Chronic conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, thyroid disease, obesity, kidney problems, deficiencies in certain vitamins, or diabetes may also contribute to this disorder. In addition, many patients’ heels tend to become drier as they get older.

Healing Heels

Fortunately, dry skin and cracked heels are typically quite simple to treat, especially if you catch this condition early enough. If your skin is beginning to become dry, simply ceasing risky behaviors (such as extra-hot showers or wearing thin-soled shoes) could do the trick. Dr. LaMour also recommends soaking your feet for 15 to 20 minutes in warm water and carefully exfoliating the skin with a loofah. You can also use a foot moisturizing lotion daily, particularly those with peppermint. If you’re willing to try an overnight treatment, you can also apply petroleum jelly to your heels, sealing it with thick socks while you sleep and it soaks in. Dr. LaMour only suggests this approach, however, if your heels have no open skin.

If dry, cracked heels have begun to take a toll on your ability to walk, putting bandages over the affected areas may help them heal. Dr. LaMour can also fit you for a custom-made orthotic to help take the pressure off of your heels.

In severe cases, Dr. LaMour and our team can help you treat bleeding or infection with prescription medications or procedures, as needed. However, we hope to help you handle your feet such that this isn’t necessary.

Contact Your Austin Podiatrist Today

Do you suffer from dry, cracked heels or another bothersome foot condition? Austin podiatrist, Dr. LaMour, can help. Contact our podiatry practice today to find out more and schedule an appointment.

My heel hurts – what should I do?

Your heels take a pounding every day. They absorb much of the impact when you walk, run, and stand for long periods. They have muscles and ligaments that work hard and get strained by activity. Your heel bone is also the largest bone in your foot.

So it’s no surprise that heel pain is one of the most common complaints podiatrists see every day. The problem is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for heel pain. Your treatment will depend on what’s causing your pain and your individual health history.

Pain on the Bottom of the Heel

Does it hurt directly under your heel? This could be a result of:

  • Stepping on something hard, such as a rock. This is called a “stone bruise,” which injures the pad under your heel. Although you may not see signs of a typical bruise with discoloration, a stone bruise can be painful. It usually heals well on its own within a few weeks.

  • Plantar fasciitis. This common condition is caused by straining the plantar fascia, which is the band of tissue that covers the bottom of your foot. When the plantar fascia gets overstretched from excessive running or improper footwear, the pain will become noticeable in the heel. Often the pain is worse in the morning, and gets better after you move around. Without treatment, plantar fasciitis often gets worse with time and can lead to bone spurs.

Both of these conditions often heal with rest, ice, and using pain relievers as directed. But, if your heel pain doesn’t improve with these measures, it’s best to have a podiatrist evaluate your problem. Often a custom orthotic, therapy, stretching or other non-invasive treatment can address the issue and achieve relief.

Pain Behind the Heel

Pain behind the heel is typically not caused by stepping on something or plantar fasciitis. Usually, this signals a problem with your Achilles tendon, which may include:

  • Bursitis of the heel. This is also called retrocalcaneal bursitis, and is swelling of a fluid-filled sac at the back of your heel. This bursa is located where the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Inflammation is often caused by doing too much exercise too quickly, and the pain is typically worse during activity.

  • Achilles tendinitis. This is inflammation in the Achilles tendon itself, which connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel. Similar to bursitis of the heel, it is often caused by overuse or too vigorous of an exercise program, as well as tight calf muscles. This condition causes pain during walking or running, and you may be able to see swelling along the back of your heel area.

For these conditions, your podiatrist may recommend rest, ice, avoiding activities that cause pain, and special shoe inserts that help reduce strain on the Achilles tendon. Surgery is only recommended if the pain is severe and other measures haven’t been successful.

Don’t ignore heel pain, or it may get worse over time! Talk to an expert about your foot problems. Contact the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour to get back on your feet again!

Heel Pain after Sleeping? 5 Possible Causes

It’s not how most of us want to start our day: you step out of bed and immediately notice heel pain. Although it’s uncomfortable, it’s not necessarily a serious problem. But, you need to find out the cause of the pain so it can be treated properly.

Possible Cause: Plantar Fasciitis

By far, the most common cause of morning heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This happens when the ligament on the bottom of your foot gets overstretched and inflamed. You feel the pain in your heel, where the ligament stretches over the bone.

What To Do:

  • Invest in shoes with proper support to keep your arch from overstretching.

  • Avoid high heels and flip flops, which can make the problem worse.

  • If the pain persists beyond your first few steps in the morning, try icing the area several times a day.

  • Avoid high-impact activities such as running and jumping until it feels better.

  • Stretch your calves and bottoms of your feet every day.

  • If it doesn’t get better within a few days, see your podiatrist.

Possible Cause: Overuse Injury

Your heel takes a lot of abuse. It bears the brunt of force when you’re walking, running, and exercising. If you’re on your feet a lot during the day, or if you’re overweight, this can cause your heel to hurt from the continuous pressure and stress.

What To Do:

  • Apply ice the area to bring down inflammation.

  • Examine your shoes. Do they have proper cushioning in the heel area? If not, invest in a good pair that’s supportive and shock absorbing. Throw out old, worn out shoes.

  • If you’ve recently increased your activity or started a new sport, consider a lower impact activity such as swimming or biking until it feels better.

  • See your podiatrist if the pain persists for more than a few days.

Possible Cause: Achilles tendinitis

Your Achilles tendon is a strong ligament that connects your heel bone and calf muscle. You use it every time you run, walk, and jump. If you overuse it and place too much stress on it, your heels may hurt. In particular, you may notice the pain the next morning after doing a strenuous activity.

What To Do:

  • Avoid activities that irritate the tendon. This includes sports with stopping and starting such as soccer and basketball. Also avoid jumping and uphill running until the pain is gone.

  • Warm up before exercising. Stretch your calves once your muscles are warmed up and after exercising.

  • Apply ice several times a day until it feels better.

  • Don’t try an extreme or sudden exercise program. Exercise should be gradually increased to give your muscles time to adjust.

Possible Cause: Arthritis

Arthritis is irritation and inflammation of the joints. Although there is no joint in your heel, arthritis pain can spread to your heel from nearby joints. It is also very common to experience arthritis pain in the morning. If you notice joint pain, swelling, redness, and pain with motion, arthritis may be to blame.

What To Do:

  • See your doctor. There are different types of arthritis, and you’ll need a proper diagnosis from your physician to effectively treat the condition.

  • Switch to low-impact exercises that are easy on the joints.

  • Work toward a healthy weight if you are overweight.

  • Try ice or heat. Some people find that icing the affected joint provides relief, while others enjoy a warm bath, shower, or heating pad.

  • Invest in quality footwear, and see your podiatrist if foot pain persists.

Don’t let heel pain sideline you. Contact our office to find out how you can get relief!

Pain in Your Heel, Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

When heel pain first strikes, your first impulse may be to ignore it. It’s common for many people to dismiss heel pain as just an after-effect of a vigorous workout or a normal part of aging. Many recreational and professional athletes will often ignore heel pain because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite activity. People who work on their feet for a living may consider heel pain to be a part of their daily life. Some are afraid that going to a doctor for heel pain may uncover an injury that could keep them away from their sport or their job for weeks or months. Whatever the reason for avoiding treatment, the fact remains that addressing heel pain early is the best way to avoid further complications.

Possible Causes Of Heel Pain

Certain lifestyle factors may increase your risk of developing heel pain such as: being overweight or obese, standing for long periods of time, or wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.

Some common causes for heel pain include:

  •         Stress fractures
  •         Achilles tendonitis
  •         Gout
  •         Bone spurs
  •         Overpronation
  •         Sever’s disease
  •         Bursitis

The most common cause of heel pain is inflammation of the fascia – the fibrous connective tissue on the sole of your feet. This condition is called plantar fasciitis and is fairly common among both athletes and everyday people. Plantar fasciitis usually presents as a pain or tenderness under the heel that may radiate toward the arch and the front of the foot. Pain is often worse in the morning just after getting out of bed or after you’ve been sitting or standing for a long time. The pain usually subsides after walking around for a few minutes, but may return later in the day, especially after a run or activity.

If ignored, plantar fasciitis can develop into chronic heel pain that limits your regular activities. Without adequate treatment, plantar fasciitis can eventually cause knee, hip, back, and other foot problems.

What To Do For Heel Pain

At the first sign of pain in the arch or the heel, take the following steps:

Get Some Rest. Stay off of your feet as much as possible. Instead of running or walking, switch to biking, swimming, or doing weight-bearing exercises that don’t put too much pressure on your feet.

Cool Your Heels. Put a water bottle it in the freezer. Once it’s chilled, remove the bottle, place it on the floor and roll the arch or your foot over it a few minutes each day.

Stretch It Out. Stretch your calf and bottoms of your feet multiple times a day.

Shoe In. Stop walking around barefoot. Wear shoes that have a rigid sole and proper arch support at all times.

Get Support. Talk with your podiatrist about other treatments for plantar fasciitis and heel pain. Several treatments exist including anti-inflammatory medications, night splints, orthotics, shockwave therapy, and surgery. Your podiatrist can help you sort through all of the available options and choose what makes the most sense for you.

If you’re experiencing pain or tenderness in your heel or feet, make an appointment with us today. We can help you relieve your heel pain and show you how to keep it from coming back!

Runners and Heel Pain

One of the most common physical problems that frequent runners experience is heel pain. With the repeated pounding and pressure on the structure of the foot during regular runs, it’s understandable that many runners will experience foot problems like heel pain at some point in time. When it comes to treating heel pain in runners, there are several factors that must be considered to make sure the right treatment is being used for the underlying problem.

Diagnosing Heel Pain in Runners

First, the source or the type of heel pain being experienced needs to be identified. A qualified podiatrist or foot specialist can perform a thorough physical examination and ask questions that will help target what’s causing your heel pain. During the examination, the following factors might be examined or assessed:

  • Specifics about your running and / or training habits, including how often you run, the intensity, distance and duration of your runs, the types of surfaces you run on, recent changes to your training routine, etc.
  •  Is your heel pain limited to a small area or is it more pervasive?
  •  How intense is the heel pain you experience?
  •  What methods or actions seem to relieve your heel pain?
  •  Have you been treated previously for heel pain?
  •  What kind of footwear do you use when running?
  •  When do you experience heel pain? During a run, after a run, or at any time of day?

While plantar fasciitis is the most common cause for runners’ heel pain, there may be other, less obvious factors contributing to your heel pain, such as Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures and bursitis, or systemic illnesses like gout and rheumatoid arthritis. A complete physical exam will include a review of muscular, neurological and, biomechanical factors to identify where the source of your heel pain is originating from. Once your podiatrist has a complete picture of your running habits and pain profile, providing an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan will be much easier.

Treating Heel Pain in Runners

Developing an effective treatment plan for heel pain involves a two-pronged approach – managing the symptoms of the pain while also addressing the cause of the pain. Most heel pain treatment protocols will involve one or more of the following approaches:

  • Rest – Your doctor may recommend taking a break from running and / or switching to other physical activities that put less stress on the heel
  • Pain medications – Medications can include OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prescription pain medications, cortisone or steroid injections depending on the severity of the pain
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapy, including cross-training and stretching exercises, may be recommended to ease pain and help correct biomechanical issues
  • Orthotics – Pre-made or custom orthotic inserts can help relieve heel pain caused by structural issues with the foot
  • Footwear – Shoes that provide additional support or cushion to the heel when running may also be recommended

Are you an avid runner struggling with occasional or recurring heel pain? Don’t suffer through it! Make an appointment with us today for a thorough assessment and customized treatment plan for your heel pain.