Heel pain is the most common complaint and can be the most difficult to diagnose. However, there are several problems associated with painful heels. Most patients suffer from Plantar Fasciitis; a condition that causes inflammation around the surrounding arch, which is located on the bottom of the foot. Excessive walking and standing can irritate the heels and cause them to become sore and painful.
Common Causes and Treatments
Spurs are similar to Plantar Fasciitis and is often found in patients who suffer from painful heels due to long periods of standing. Another problem which causes pinched nerves in the back of the foot is called, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, a condition similar to that of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Most patients suffer from pain on the heel or pain underneath the heel. This condition is referred to as Posterior heel pain and can cause Achilles Tendonitis as well as Retro calcaneal Bursitis. Stress factures are uncommon and are mostly found in athletes and track and field runners. It is difficult to determine the severity of a problem without knowing the cause. Consulting with an orthopedic doctor will ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Seek the assistance of a specialist if any of these symptoms are present:
· Difficulty walking
· Continuous heel pain during the night or during periods of rest
· Swelling, discoloration and pain in heel and foot
Any of these symptoms require the attention of an orthopedic doctor. In the meantime rest and avoid long periods of walking and standing.
Treatments for These conditions include medication and exercise.
· Resting the feet is the oldest and safest way to relax the muscles in the leg and keep pressure off the ankle and heels. Applying an ice pack for a few minutes is also helpful in relieving pain and reducing inflammation.
· Towel stretches are great for early morning warm ups. Use the towel to pull the toes toward the body without bending the knees. Apply this technique a few times to both feet.
· Strapping and splinting techniques are great alternatives for keeping the pressure off the heels. A podiatrist is the one who teaches patients how to apply the straps. Splints are available from a supplier or from specialty shops.
Another treatment method is Corticosteroid injections. It reduces the pain and inflammation associated with painful heels. Other alternatives may include therapy and surgery.