Our feet are complicated things. They’re made up of a complex of bones, joints and (get this) more than 100 tendons.
As I said – complicated.
And when you have heel pain, you’ve got a problem with the largest bone found in the foot. There are several conditions which might be indicated by heel pain and corresponding treatments.
Let’s look at a couple of common conditions and treatments.
- Plantar fasciitis: This Is the most common foot ailment around. It’s small wonder because the heel is connected to the rest of the foot by the plantar fascia, which is a web-like tendon supporting the arch of the foot.
Icing your foot 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes is a good place start but a physical therapist can help you with exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and associated tendons, as well as to strengthen the lower leg muscles.
- Achilles tendonitis: This overuse injury causes the Achilles tendon (which attaches to the heel) to become inflamed. Your shoes may also be the culprit, if they either don’t fit properly or are no longer supporting your feet. High heels are another major cause of this condition.
Again, resting the tendon, combined with gentle stretching exercises are your first line of attack. Physically active people will benefit from reducing their activity levels. Icing the tendon is helpful, as well.
Remember, though, that this condition can become serious if you don’t rest and apply self-care. You can rupture the tendon, which requires surgery.
These are just two common causes of heel pain, but it can derive from factors as varied as fractures, strains, sprains and even spinal conditions. All these underlying causes demand immediate medical intervention.
Do I need to see a doctor?
If you’re experiencing serious, persistent pain, then yes. Go to the doctor. This is especially true if you’re compensating for the pain by walking differently or find that you can’t walk at all.
Sudden pain, swelling and redness are other indications that you require medical attention.
As I’ve mentioned, self-care goes a long way, but your doctor will be able to more accurately diagnosis the condition causing your pain and take appropriate action. This may include supportive taping and footwear appliances to take pressure off the heel and the affected or implicated structures.
Depending on the nature of your condition, you may also be referred to a physical therapist or other medical professional for specialized treatment.
Back & Body Medical NJ
The award-winning multi-disciplinarian model practiced at our Manhattan clinic is so popular with New Jersey patients that we’ve brought it closer to home.
Patients in New Jersey may now take advantage of our integrated care model, featuring therapies from acupuncture, sports medicine, chiropractic and of course, physical therapy.
If you’ve talked to your doctor about your heel pain, have received a diagnosis and seek specialized treatment, you’ll find personalized, patient-centered care here at our New Jersey facility.
Contact us. You need your feet to get around, so let’s fix that heel pain!