Do your heels scream in pain every morning when you rise out of bed? Do they complain every time you stand after sitting for a little while?
Welcome to the club – the heel pain club!
Far from being exclusive, heel pain is the most common foot condition we see at our office. In fact, 10 percent of Americans today deal with this more-than-inconvenient discomfort. And you likely already know that it can keep you from doing the things you love most, from going shopping to playing your favorite sports.
But if you are waiting for the problem to go away on its own, then we have some bad news for you:
Heel pain won’t resolve itself. Quite the opposite, actually – your discomfort will most likely become worse given time when left untreated.
So, what are you to do?
The answer is simple. If you are experiencing pain in your heels (or any other part of your foot, for that matter), come visit our Total Foot and Ankle office right away! We have the best knowledge and tools available to accurately diagnose your condition and provide efficient treatment measures to get rid of your symptoms.
What’s more, often conservative approaches are more than enough to find the relief you need, and even get rid of the problem once and for all.
What is Causing Your Heel Pain?
The most common cause for heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This condition is considered to be an overuse injury, as it stems from damage to your plantar fascia (the fibrous band of tissues that spans the arch of your foot, connecting your toes to your heel).
Repetitive stress placed upon this band can cause tiny tears to form in the tissues. The resulting inflammation aggravates the the underside of the heel where the plantar fascia is attached, which results in heel pain—especially first thing in the morning or when rising after sitting for long periods.
Because your plantar fascia contracts at rest, pain is most prominent when the injured tissues of your arch are suddenly forced to stretch again. That is why one of the telltale symptoms of plantar fasciitis is stabbing heel pain with the first steps of the day!
And though the pain will subside as you loosen up when you walk, that doesn’t mean it won’t be back! In fact, you can expect discomfort to return each and every morning, as well as whenever you climb stairs or stand for extended periods of time.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?
In most cases, plantar fasciitis can be treated with simple conservative treatment methods, including:
- Applying ice to the area
- Switching to more supportive and cushioned footwear
- Wearing custom orthotics
- Taking OTC anti-inflammatory medications
However, if these measures are not enough to provide relief, we may start to consider regenerative medical procedures like laser therapy. This type of treatment accelerates healing and encourages the repair and regeneration of damaged cells.
Plantar fasciitis surgery is also an option, though these instances are rare, and surgery is only used for severe cases and when all other options have already been exhausted.
How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
The good news is there are plenty of steps you can take to help prevent plantar fasciitis from causing you heel pain in the first place. Here are some easy things you can try at home:
- Wear shoes that provide plenty of arch support and cushioning for the heels
- Warm up before starting activities
- Stretch daily, as well as before and after activities
- Never push through the pain
- Massage the area in pain
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid overuse and repetitive stress
If you are looking for some low-impact exercises that will give your heels a break, yoga, swimming, or biking are all great choices.
Find Expert Diagnosis and Efficient Treatments at Total Foot and Ankle
Now, it’s important to note that, while plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, it is not the only one. It’s best to let us assess your feet so we can provide the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. So, if your heels are giving you grief, don’t wait to get to the bottom of it – contact our office today!
Simply call us at (405) 947-8041 to schedule an appointment at our Oklahoma City office, or (580) 237-3338 to reach our Enid location. You can also fill out our contact form online to have one of our staff members reach out to you.