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
- Bone spurs
- Sever’s disease
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!