It may have come on gradually, but if you step out of bed one morning and give a yelp, you know that it’s time to deal with that pain in your heel. While heel pain may not be totally debilitating, it can definitely slow you down. You need to find out what is causing your particular problem and how to treat it. That’s where The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic can help.
Why Does My Heel Hurt?
Heel pain has many causes. Some of the more common are:
Plantar fasciitis – The band of tissue that connects the front of your foot to the heel (the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed, causing pain on the bottom of your foot. This happens when the fascia is stretched or strained from repeated stress or lack of proper support. Discomfort can be most intense first thing in the morning, and then subside as your feet move about more during the day.
Heel bursitis – Inflammation can occur in the fluid sac (bursa) at the back of the heel. If you land hard on your heels when you walk, you will be more prone to developing this condition. Pain from bursitis occurs deep inside the foot or at the back of the heel and often increases throughout the day.
Stress fractures – Small cracks can form in the bones of the foot from stresses like running or a job that puts heavy demands on your feet. The discomfort may be slight at first and you might not even know you have a fracture, but it can worsen with overuse, resulting in painful movement.
Achilles tendonitis – Inflammation can occur in the Achilles tendon at the back of the foot because of repeated trauma, such as running and other sports . This condition can also affect older adults, as tendons become weaker with age. The tissue band can develop a small tear that doesn’t heal well, making the back of your heel sore and limiting your movements.
Pain in your heel may also be related to your gait. Sometimes just correcting a person’s walking stride with custom orthotics can bring relief. Other more serious causes can include gout , rheumatoid arthritis , or peripheral neuropathy. It is best to have a podiatrist from The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic examine your foot to see what is causing the pain.
What to Do about Sore Heels
Sometimes conservative treatments such as R.I.C.E. – rest, icing, compression and elevation – can alleviate your pain. Your foot specialist may also recommend a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medicine to deal with your symptoms. If the pain is severe and accompanied by swelling, numbness, or fever, you will want to get it checked out as soon as possible. Persistent discomfort that worsens over time should also be evaluated, as further treatments may be needed. There are recommended exercises and physical therapy that can strengthen or stretch the tendons and muscles in the calf and foot. Shock wave therapy (using sound waves on the affected area) can stimulate healing. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic has been treating foot conditions in the Sammamish, WA area for over twenty years. If you have heel pain, call them today at (425) 868-3338 or request an appointment online .