For every mile you walk, your feet absorb stress equivalent to about 60 tons of force. With that in mind, it’s perhaps surprising that heel pain doesn’t happen more often, but usually, your anatomy is up to the task of absorbing these stresses in stride.
Sometimes, though, heel pain does happen and your busy life won’t allow the amount of downtime you need to recover naturally. When your home care efforts aren’t enough, you can count on Errol Gindi, DPM to help you through the worst. As a heel pain specialist, Dr. Gindi knows the best sequence and timing of treatment components, both in the office and at home, to get you ahead of the pain.
Primary causes of heel pain
Two conditions cause the majority of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis are the most frequent culprits, though other conditions can create heel pain too, including arthritis, bursitis, and bone infections.
The pain from this foot condition originates from the bottom of the heel, where a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, connects. The amazing shock-absorbing ability of your foot originates with structures that resemble an archer’s bow. The bones of your foot form the bow, while the plantar fascia serves as the “string,” connecting the heel with the ball of your foot.
When you’re experiencing heel pain, the accumulated wear and tear on the plantar fascia may be causing micro-tears in the tissue, leading to irritation and inflammation. These take time to heal, often more time than most people can work into their days.
Overuse can also trigger irritation in the Achilles tendon, causing pain in the back of the heel or slightly above it. Often, pain may be at its worst in the morning, easing up as you undertake mild activity. Pain can arise again through the day, usually after periods of exertion, like running, stair climbing, or extended periods of walking.
The Achilles tendon is also prone to microdamage, which triggers discomfort and pain. Most cases resolve more easily with home care than does plantar fasciitis, though some may still require medical attention.
Ways to treat heel pain
The inflammation and irritation that causes heel pain often responds well to the RICE protocol:
- Rest: staying off your feet as much as possible
- Ice: cold compresses for 15 minutes, twice a day
- Compression: Wrapping the affected area with an elastic bandage
- Elevation: reclining with your foot elevated above the level of your heart
Over-the-counter pain medications can ease your discomfort and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen and naproxen also address swelling.
Your choice of footwear is always important, and when you have heel pain, supportive, comfortable shoes become essential. Adding a cushioned insert eases some of the burdens your feet need to bear. Night splints hold your foot in a stretched position as you sleep, which may help reduce the effects of plantar fasciitis.
Dr. Gindi can add additional options, including advanced diagnostics to pinpoint the cause of your pain, specially designed physical therapy, prescription medications, or other cutting-edge treatments like radial pulse therapy.
Contact Errol Gindi, DPM at either of his two offices, by phone or online if your home care routine isn’t providing continued relief. There’s an answer to your heel pain, so book your consultation now.