Heel Pain Causes and Treatments
Heel pain is one of those types of ailments that can rob you of energy and motivation one twinge at a time.
Perhaps you hesitate to get out of bed in the mornings for fear of that sharp sting of pain you know is coming as soon as your feet hit the floor. Maybe you come home from a long day standing or running around at work and can’t think of any better choice than to just sit down and let your aching heels rest.
These are not ideal ways to go about life, but it’s surprising just how many people just accept this agony as part of their daily experience. They might feel nothing will help their heel pain—and might have even already tried a failed remedy.
Heel pain can be effectively treated, however. A big factor in this effectiveness is getting to the root cause of the problem, and that is something Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. excels at.
What Causes Heel Pain?
Heel pain may feel like a rather simple symptom, but it has a variety of potential causes. This is why some attempts at finding relief might not prove helpful—they might not be addressing the right reasons!
Potential causes of heel pain can include, but are not limited to:
- Plantar Fasciitis – Pain caused by strain, small tears, and inflammation of the thick band of tissue running along the bottom of the foot. Morning pain is one indicator of this condition.
- Achilles Tendinitis – Inflammation of the strong tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. Pain in the back of the heel is one sign of this.
- Bursitis – Inflammation of the cushioning sacs located between the heel bone and tendons.
- Stress Fractures – Hairline cracks in the heel or surrounding bones.
- Bone Spurs – Small, bony growths that can develop on the heel bone due to stress. (These are common, but not always the direct cause of pain.)
There are further potential causes. Once a condition is properly diagnosed, we must also consider the factors that have led to it.
Has your condition developed through a direct injury, or over time via overuse or excess strain? Do you have an abnormality in your foot structure or the way you walk? Is your environment a factor? How about your footwear? Pinpointing these factors will make your overall treatment plan much more effective.
What Treatments Exist for Heel Pain?
A range of potential treatments may be recommended for significantly reducing or outright eliminating heel pain. The exact plan depends on each individual case and the factors surrounding it, such as medical history, age, lifestyle, and ultimate goals.
In many cases, changes in footwear may have a big impact. This can include shoes that provide better arch support or motion control.
For additional support or cushioning that may be needed, custom orthotic inserts can be prescribed to provide just that.
Additional forms of treatment may include stretches and exercises to condition areas of the foot that may be enduring stress. Changes at your workplace such as padded mats can also be helpful, if possible. Then there are the traditional methods of rest, icing, and medications to relieve pain and inflammation.
Surgery is rarely a consideration, and is only brought up if other forms of treatment have not worked (or clearly wouldn’t). Fortunately, most cases of heel pain respond very well to conservative treatments.
Don’t Wait for Heel Pain Help
The worst thing you can do for your heel pain is nothing.
When you come in for evaluation and treatment, we won’t just take a look at your feet. We want to get to know you, because healing from foot and ankle issues requires a team approach. We can diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment, but you need to follow-through with home care and future appointments for best results.
We promise you, though, that it will be worth it!
Schedule an appointment with Ankle & Foot Specialist of N.J. at any of our three offices:
- Hillsborough – (908) 722-3668
- Warren – (732) 356-3668
- South Plainfield – (908) 222-8980