A New Year Can Mean New Hope for Your Heel Pain
We don’t really need to turn a calendar page to start a period of goal pursuit or renewal. But, as human beings, a new year can be a big help in reminding us that many things we take for granted can change.
One thing that we tend to unnecessarily accept in our lives is pain. This seems especially true when that pain is in our feet or heels.
Perhaps you tried one or two over-the-counter remedies and they either temporarily helped, or didn’t help at all. Perhaps you believe that heel pain is just a natural consequence of having a job or lifestyle that demands being on your feet all day, and nothing is going to help that fact.
You Have Options
We are good at coming up with all sorts of excuses about why things are Just This Way or that we even deserve it, but here is a foundational truth: no pain is ever normal.
It doesn’t matter what you do, what your family history is, or how long you have been living with heel pain. It is sign of a problem that should—and in very many cases can—be addressed.
There are ways to help fight your heel pain, and whether they work or not largely depends on whether they are directly addressing the source of the problem. If the techniques you tried haven’t worked for you, it is well worth coming to Premier Podiatry Group to determine the source of the problem.
What Can Be the Source of Your Heel Pain?
Heel pain is not always so simple as “my heel hurts.” The foot has many parts, and several of them can cause pain in the area of the heel.
Here are a few of the more common types, but this isn’t a complete list:
- Plantar Fasciitis – The inflammation of the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. It helps form the arch and stores/releases energy to propel us in our motion. When overused or enduring too much stress, however, the band can develop mini tears and become painful.
- Achilles Tendinitis – The inflammation of the tendon connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. Like the plantar fascia, it too can become overworked or strained due to excess stress, such as tight calf muscles pulling on it.
- Stress Fractures – While the heel bone can become fully fractured, it is very rare for it to do so. Stress fractures, which are hairline cracks along the surface of the bone, are more likely, and can result when the heel endures repetitive stress.
While there are many types of heel pain, they tend to have common general causes:
- Overuse – We condition our bodies to accept greater demands of stress and weight. When we try to push ourselves too hard all at once, or make our bodies endure repetitive stress without giving them proper time to recover, we can risk overuse injuries to our bones and soft tissues. Certain environmental factors, such as having to stand on hard surfaces all day or staying in stooped positions frequently, can also be considered forms of overuse.
- Imbalance of Forces – An abnormality in foot structure, such as high arches or flat feet, can alter the way weight is distributed across the foot. This can lead to excess stress in certain areas, creating strain and painful situations.
Identifying the condition and its causes is the key to finding the best form of treatment.
What You Can Do
If heel pain has been bothering you for a long time, your pool of options outside of professional help might be shallow. Even so, it does not hurt to consider some potential personal steps you can take to potentially relieve your pain.
- Stretch – Foot, ankle, and calf stretches can be an effective way to reduce excess stress on hurting areas over time, as well as increase your range of motion.
- Lose Weight – If you are carrying excess weight, that means your feet are bearing excess force.
- Make Small but Effective Changes – Footwear that is more accommodating to your foot shape and working needs can make a big difference. So can adjusting your work environment, such as using a foam mat where you tend to spend most of your day standing.
Even if you don’t suffer from heel pain, these are still good ambitions to have for your general well-being.
What We Can Do
If everything you have tried for your heel pain hasn’t yielded results, it’s time to schedule an appointment with us and get to the root of the problem.
Once we have made a diagnosis, we can arrange a treatment plan that best suits your individual needs and goals. Just as there isn’t only one form of heel pain, there isn’t one absolute way to treat heel pain for everyone!
Treatments for heel pain can include simple methods such as an icing regimen, rest, and physical therapy.
In other cases, advanced treatments may be recommended. The can include prescribing custom orthotics to address specific abnormalities in foot structure, or technology such extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESTW) and laser therapy to relieve pain and encourage faster recovery in damaged tissues.
Don’t let heel pain continue to be your companion this year. With new choices and new treatments, you can make huge strides toward the relief and comfort you do deserve!
Call our Ebensburg office at (814) 472-2660 or our Johnstown office as (814) 409-7373 to schedule an appointment. You can also reach us online via our contact form.