If you suffer from heel pain, you are far from alone. There are many different “flavors,” each a part of many people’s lives.
Perhaps your heel pain makes you want to stay in bed, knowing you’ll hit that sharp, stabbing sensation as soon as your feet hit the floor. Maybe you’re OK until the last couple hours of your shift, when standing has taken its toll. Or maybe you’re a runner who has pushed things a bit more intensely than you intended, and now have hurting heels to show for it.
Whatever the cause of your heel pain, one thing too many people do about it is…nothing! They just grin and bear it, letting themselves be miserable because they feel that either nothing can be done for them, or it will all go away if they just wait another week.
Both of these tactics are foolish. Heel pain very rarely goes away on its own without the right treatment and, in the majority of cases, something can be done to relieve pain and discomfort.
The keys to fighting heel pain are identifying the problem and addressing it in the right ways.
Types of Heel Pain
There are many potential forms and causes of heel pain. In many cases, pain is due to too much stress or pressure placed on an area of the foot, causing strain and damage to a tendon, ligament, or other soft tissue.
Different types of heel pain include:
- Plantar Fasciitis. Among the most common forms of heel pain, this involves the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs beneath each foot. Sharp morning heel pain, or pain that arrives after long periods of sitting and rest, is often attributable to this condition.
- Achilles tendinitis. This is inflammation of the tendon that connects to the back of your heel bone to your calf. It is often seen in runners and others who have increased their level of physical activity too much, too soon. Tight calf muscles can also place excess strain on the tendon and contribute to this problem.
- Stress fractures. These are small cracks in the surface of a bone, most often caused by too much repetitive stress against the area. Once again, runners tend to experience this condition more than others.
- Bursitis. This painful condition affects the bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the areas around your joints. These sacs become swollen, inflamed, and stiff, often due to repetitive motion.
There are further potential causes of heel pain, including bone spurs and peripheral neuropathy. We always recommend conducting a full exam to make sure the right cause of pain has been identified.
Taking Care of Heel Pain
Once the source of heel pain is known, we also take your lifestyle, needs, and other factors into account to recommend an effective and reasonable treatment plan.
In a lot of cases, especially those involving sports injuries, rest is going to be a significant element of treatment. If you are worried about losing your fitness gains, we can help you arrange an interim routine that places much less impact on your heels and feet, allowing you the time you need to recover.
If your foot structure or gait is contributing to your pain, we might recommend stretching exercises, changes in footwear, or the use of custom orthotics to realign your feet and redistribute pressure away from where it is causing problems.
Doing nothing about your heel pain is simply unacceptable. Burlington County Foot & Ankle Associates has the experience and treatments to take back your life and get back to enjoying the things you love as quickly and safely as possible.
You can reach our office by phone at (609) 714-0052 or use our online contact form at any time to ask questions or schedule an appointment.