The majority of people would agree that there are few things worse than an unexpected or consistent pain. Whether the pain is sharp or dull, it is generally something that is best left avoided. When you consider the fact that some people experience pain that is in an area that is completely unavoidable in daily life, you can really run into trouble. One of the more bothersome forms of consistent pain is heel pain. For those who have experienced it, this obnoxious pain can turn walking from a nuisance into a full-blown problem that can make participating in daily activities feel nearly impossible. In this article, we will address heel pain, its causes, and how you can treat this unpleasant form of pain.
Causes of Heel Pain
There are a variety of different causes that can lead to you experiencing heel pain. These problems can range from chronic conditions to simple injuries, and the approach to treating each of them is a little different. You can experience pain in different parts of the heel, and it can range in severity depending on the cause. A proper podiatrist will be able to determine what the cause of your heel pain is so that actions can be taken.
Sever's Disease happens during the growth spurt of puberty. During the growth spurt bones, muscles, and tendons grow at different rates causing the muscles and tendons to tighten, pulling the growth plate in the heel. Physical activity pulls on the muscles and tendons which can injure the growth plate. This injury leads to the pain of Sever's Disease. Sever's Disease usually causes pain or tenderness in the heel. Symptoms can include pain from pressure on the sides of the heel, swelling, limping, and stiffness in the feet. Symptoms typically worsen with activity, during or after.
While most people have heard of spurs, not many people realize all of the places that you can get them. A common cause of heel pain is a heel spur, which occurs when a calcium deposit builds up on the underside of your heel. These problematic growths can vary in size and are generally considered to be quite painful, particularly if they are bigger in nature.
Arthritis of the Foot
Another common cause of pain around the body, including the heel, is arthritis. Arthritis is caused by an inflammation of the joints. This can be the cause of heel pain in a few ways. First, it can be arthritis in the local area causing the pain. Second, heel pain can be caused when you end up walking differently because of arthritic pain.
One of the more common causes of heel pain that anyone can experience is simply that of an injury. When you are walking or running, you always run the risk of coming down on your foot wrong. This can result in a stress fracture or other problems in the area. The end result can be heel pain from a direct injury or heel pain from putting different stresses on your foot after an injury in another area.
Though tendonitis is not necessarily specific to the foot, it can be responsible for heel pain. You have plenty of tendons in the area around your heel, which makes it easy for any of them to become inflamed or irritated. When this occurs, you can experience pain in your heel directly or after the fact if the problem is in a nearby area.
Treatments for Heel Pain
Heel pain is a bothersome problem that can dramatically impact how you manage your daily life. It can make you miss out on opportunities that contribute to your active lifestyle. Some people find that it forces them to miss out on times with their family. Others simply lament the constant pain of it that leads them to want to do less and less. Since the majority of us are dependent on being able to walk comfortably to live our lives, when we suddenly find this opportunity compromised, it can be a bit of a shock, which is why people want to find relief as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available.
Icing and Pain Management
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, you might simply need to treat it like you would any minor injury. Putting ice on the affected heel can help you to reduce swelling, which can in turn help to lessen the pain. Pairing this with over the counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help reduce the pain and swelling long enough for the problem area to heel. This is a simple and non-invasive approach that most people find ideal.
In the event that the cause of your heel pain is something relating to the use of your foot, you might benefit from physical therapy in some capacity. This generally includes stretching or changing the way that you walk in order to better accommodate your body’s needs. It is a helpful way for you to make sure that you yourself are not putting any unnecessary stress on the body while it heals so that your body can strengthen in all the right areas.
Custom Shoes or Inserts
In the event you have a cause that can be easily triggered through daily activity, your doctor might prescribe you with some additional support in the form of shoe inserts or orthopedic shoes designed to keep you walking correctly. This can reduce the stress placed on your heel so that it can not only heal, but avoid further problems down the line.
For some people, these other methods might not be enough. Steroid injections are an option that can help you to easily conquer the pain and swelling of your heel pain. This targeted approach can help your body to go the extra mile when it comes to allowing the area to heel. While steroid injections might not be the first approach, for some people they are simply the best way to get relief from unpleasant heel pain.
When it comes down to it, heel pain is a nuisance that can influence your life pretty severely. Since this is the case, you always want to make sure that you head over to your local podiatrist if you find yourself experiencing it. As is the case with most physical problems, the sooner the doctor can evaluate and treat the condition, the less chance you have of it getting worse. Finding relief and getting your heel pain treated can help you to literally get back on your feet in no time at all.