If you suffer from heel pain, you are not alone. Approximately one in four Americans experience heel pain that is serious enough to prevent them from walking and enjoying their favorite activities.
Heel pain can develop for many reasons, and understanding the root cause of your pain is essential to finding lasting relief. Here are some of the most common causes of heel pain and what you can do to find relief.
What Causes Heel Pain?
Below are some of the most common sources of heel pain we treat:
The most common is plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the plantar fascia – a band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot – becomes inflamed. This condition most often affects people who are middle-aged or older and who spend long hours on their feet.
Heel spurs are another common cause of heel pain. These bony growths develop on the heel bone and can cause pain when they rub against soft tissue or shoes. Heel spurs can be associated with plantar fasciitis, but the symptomatic spurs are usually associated with the Achilles tendon on the back of the heel.
Some people develop heel pain as a result of Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon is the large tendon that runs down the back of your leg, connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone. If this tendon becomes inflamed or torn, it can cause significant heel pain.
Fractures are another possible cause of heel pain. A stress fracture – a tiny crack in the bone – is a common injury in runners. Heel pain that develops gradually and gets worse with activity is often a sign of a stress fracture.
Sever’s disease, otherwise known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a type of heel pain affecting children and adolescents. The soft growth plate of a child’s heel bone is vulnerable to injury and may become irritated from overuse. If your child complains of heel or foot pain, it is very important to have it examined so they can get appropriate treatment.
Other factors can lead to heel pain, such as:
- Wearing unsupportive, worn out, or ill-fitting footwear.
- Having a tight Achilles tendon and/or calf muscle.
- A dramatic increase in activity levels, such as starting a new sport, a new exercise routine, or increasing your running or walking mileage.
- Participating in hobbies or occupations that require a significant amount of standing or walking.
- Having flat feet, high arches, or other structural foot issues can create inefficient foot mechanics.
- Weight gain.
- Physical trauma.
Treating Heal Pain
If you are experiencing heel pain, it is essential to have it examined by Dr. Bobrowski. He will be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend the best treatment options.
There are many different treatments for heel pain, depending on the underlying cause. Ice for the first 48 hours can help relieve inflammation, after which contrast baths are recommended. Stretches to release tightness in the Achilles tendon or plantar fascia are always beneficial.
MLS Laser therapy is an amazing treatment that can speed up recovery time for soft tissue heel pain issues. By increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation, this laser therapy accelerates the body’s natural healing process of the damaged tissue at the cellular level.
For some people, behavior modification is an important part of treatment. This may involve cutting back on high-impact activities, wearing shoes with good support even inside the house, and stretching before and after exercise.
Other forms of treatment might include prescription orthotics to provide the necessary support, stability, and cushioning to relieve pain in your heels and feet. We also carry a line of high-quality medical-grade supports that provide significant heel pain relief for patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. These devices give the foot structural support and can be adjusted to further balance the foot, alleviating the strain on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Do not make the mistake of simply buying “orthotics” at the pharmacy. These inserts are designed for cushioning instead of support, and at best will only provide temporary relief.
For more severe cases of heel pain, prescription orthotics may be recommended. These custom devices are made specifically for your feet to provide the best support and protection possible.
Surgery for heel pain only comes into play for rare and extreme cases. Most heel pain can and should at first be treated without surgery. However, if conservative treatments fail, surgery might be the best option.
Get Relief From Heel Pain Today!
Heel pain can make your life miserable, but there are treatments available that can help. If you are suffering from heel pain, do not wait.
Make an appointment with Dr. Thomas J. Bobrowski and the InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry team today. We will determine the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan that will get you back on your feet as soon as possible.