Why Do I Have Heel Pain?
What Causes Heel Pain?
Heel pain is a prevalent complaint. There are several causes that you can treat at home and others that require your doctor’s attention. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and heel spurs are among the most frequent reasons for pain in your heels or arches.
Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot, develops inflammation. It connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and affects one in ten people.
The main symptom is pain on the bottom of your foot, especially in the morning when you first get up. The pain may be mild or severe and can radiate to your ankles and calves. You may have swelling on the bottom of your foot.
Commonly what causes plantar fasciitis is overuse. It’s common in people who are on their feet a lot, such as runners, people who stand for long periods, and those who are overweight. Plantar fasciitis can also occur if you wear shoes that don’t fit properly or lack support.
Achilles tendinitis is a condition that affects the tendons in your heel causing you pain when you run and jump.
You may feel pain at the back of your ankle or along the sides of it if you have Achilles tendinitis. It’s usually worse after exercise or when walking up hills. Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, tenderness when touched and difficulty bending down on the affected foot.
Overuse is one cause of Achilles tendinitis, but it can also be caused by poor technique while exercising. For example, running with improper form or using old shoes that no longer provide adequate support for your feet. Other risk factors include being female, having a high arch, or being overweight.
If you’re experiencing heel pain, it’s essential to identify the cause so that you can get appropriate treatment. If you’re not sure what’s causing your heel pain, it’s critical to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
How to get Heel Pain Relief
- Reduce your risk of injury by wearing proper shoes
- Avoid high heels, which can put extra pressure on your heels
- Use an ice pack, especially after you’ve been walking around for a while. Apply it to the part of your foot that hurts for 10-15 minutes three or four times a day
- Stretch before exercising and when you get up in the morning
- Consider wearing shoes with soft soles or inserts that provide extra comfort
- Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help reduce pain and inflammation
- Ask your doctor about steroid injections to ease the pain quickly
- Talk with a physical therapist about exercises you can do at home to stretch out your plantar fascia and make it stronger
- Wear a night splint to stretch your plantar fascia while you sleep, or wear arch support to keep your arches lifted during the day
- Schedule an appointment with a foot doctor if heel pain persists for more than two weeks after trying at-home treatments
What Are Some Treatment Options for Heel Pain
Prescription or over-the-counter medications can help treat heel pain. Oral NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), are anti-inflammatory drugs that may help with pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Prescription drugs injected directly into the heel may also be used to decrease pain.
Amniotic injections are usually only recommended if all other treatments have failed. They have a higher risk of side effects. Using them more than three times in one year is generally discouraged because it can increase the risk of damage to your plantar fascia.
Arch Supports and Orthotics
Orthotics are designed to provide the support you need conservatively and non-invasively. They are some of the most versatile treatment options in our office because they can help treat many common foot and ankle problems we see!
Shockwave Therapy (EPAT)
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive form of treatment designed to stimulate the body’s natural healing responses. EPAT is able to provide these benefits without the use of drugs or causing any damage to the skin.
It is important to incorporate stretching exercises into your treatment plan to help decrease pain and inflammation. Other types of physical therapy include ice packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage, and regular exercise programs.
Boot or Cast
Wearing a walking cast boot may provide relief if you have plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, or another type of heel pain during your period of recovery. Wearing one of these boots for 6-12 weeks may reduce your pain and speed the healing of your injury.
This is usually not recommended since most people feel relief with nonsurgical treatment options. Surgery should only be considered in cases in which conservative treatments have not helped, and you can still walk and bear weight on the foot in question.
When To See Us
There are a few critical times when you should see a podiatrist about your heel pain.
- If the pain doesn’t go away after a week of home treatment
- If the pain is severe or prevents you from doing everyday activities
- If you have other symptoms such as redness, swelling
Treatment options include rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE), over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy, and surgery. We will help you choose the best treatment for your situation.
In conclusion, heel pain is one of the most common complaints we hear as podiatrists. It has a variety of sources. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and metatarsalgia are just some of them. The good news is that you can get treatment of any form of heel pain in our office to get you back on your feet again.
If you are experiencing heel pain, it is best to schedule a consultation with your podiatrist as soon as possible. Treatment options may include orthotics, physical therapy, or surgery in more severe cases.
Don’t let heel pain keep you from living life to the fullest. We understand your pain. Reach out to us to schedule an appointment. Get the treatment you need and start feeling better today!