Whenever heel pain comes into the picture, life is just not the same. And if you are one of the many Americans today dealing with this more-than-inconvenient condition, then you likely already know that heel pain can keep you from doing the things you love, like participating in your sports of choice – and even those things you don’t love so much, like completing household chores.
Now, you may have found ways to cope with the constant complaints from your heels throughout the day, or maybe you have figured that the pain eventually subsides after walking for a little while. No matter your situation, heel pain is not normal, and you shouldn’t have to learn to live with it – though you may think it’s not a big deal, ignoring the problem is not going to make it go away.
In fact, it will likely get much worse without proper treatment. The next thing you know, your heel pain is keeping you from being as active as you would like, or even at all! And since taking up the couch-potato lifestyle is not an option for a lot of you athletes and weekend warriors, you may resort to the “no pain, no gain” frame of mind.
But that is also a huge mistake. So our very first tip to you is:
Do not wait to get appropriate treatment.
There are many possibilities as to why your heels are hurting, including Achilles tendinitis and bursitis. Although, the most common cause of painful heels is plantar fasciitis. And in order to properly address a problem, you need to first identify what’s wrong, right? That’s what we are here for – to give you an accurate diagnosis and provide the best treatment options available to kick heel pain to the curb.
Thankfully, conditions that cause heel pain are fairly easy to fix (if, of course, you act early).
Where is This Pain Coming From?
Well, we already know that the problem is in your heels. But what is the underlying condition causing you pain? Most likely, plantar fasciitis.
This condition begins in the plantar fascia, a thick tissue band that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects your heel to your toes. This tissue band absorbs force impact and supports your weight whenever you stand, walk, run, or jump.
When your plantar fascia sustains an excessive amount of force impact, tiny tears may start to develop and cause it to become irritated and inflamed. And this often translates into pain in your heel(s). This discomfort is usually felt when one first gets out of bed in the morning or when rising after sitting for long periods of time. (Pain can also be experienced during and after performing activities as well.)
However, other “not-so-fun” foot problems may be the actual culprit for your heel pain. Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, stress fractures, tarsal tunnel – the list can go on forever. But, at Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates, we can help you put your best foot forward – without heel pain!
How Can You Treat and Prevent Heel Pain?
No matter what the actual cause of your heel pain is, one thing is sure: you want this problem fixed! And the good news is that (when treated early) most heel pain conditions can be easily addressed with conservative treatment methods.
If heel pain is keeping you from doing the things you love, try these steps:
- Wear appropriate shoes. Shoes with adequate arch and heel support will provide your feet the comfort and protection they need.
- Consider custom orthotics. These devices are extremely versatile and will provide the exact comfort and support that even appropriate footwear may not be able to provide.
- Warm up before starting activities.Take 5-10 minutes to warm up by lightly jogging or briskly walking.
- Stretch daily, as well as before and after activities. Take the time to thoroughly stretch after warming up.
- Ease into physical activity. Gradually progress with regard to your frequency and duration of activity.
- Never push through the pain. Instead, stop what you are doing and avoid high-impact activities until the pain goes away completely.
- Apply ice to the area in pain. Since it’s a more difficult place to reach, you can use a frozen water bottle.
- Massage the area in pain.You can use a tennis ball, a foam roller, or get a friend or partner to help.
- Take over-the-counter medication. Basic anti-inflammatory and pain medication can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Give your feet time to rest.Avoid all high-impact activities until your heel pain subsides completely.
Though we certainly hope that, armed with these tips, you can steer clear from heel pain, we also understand that foot problems can still happen despite taking all preventative measures available. And, if that is the case for you, then it’s time to come visit our office.
When to See a Podiatrist?
Though ice and rest can be helpful to some extent, a prompt visit to a foot and ankle specialist will ensure that you avoid any further damage to your foot. Some good indicators that you should seek medical advice and treatment include:
- Persistent or extreme swelling.
- Bruising at the site of an injury.
- Inability to bend foot downward.
- Persistent or extreme pain.
- Inability to raise toes.
- Difficulty walking.
The truth is that many of us tend to delay medical treatment in fear of what we may find. Maybe you are hesitant to know the diagnosis or perhaps you are afraid of the treatments needed to solve the problem. Either way, putting off appropriate care will most likely result in more serious injuries in the future – and these may require even more extensive care and treatments, including surgery.
We Can Relieve Your Heel Pain at Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates
So, are you ready to get rid of your heel pain for good? Then give our Bloomington, IL office a call today at (309) 661-9975 to schedule your appointment, or simply fill out our handy request form online to have one of our trained staff members reach out to you.