Heel pain can be a frustrating problem because it is impossible to walk or be active without putting pressure on your heel.
Fortunately, there are many treatments available to treat your heel pain. Read on to discover the different kinds of heel pain and what it is you can do about them.
What Are the Causes of Heel Pain?
The foot is one of the most complex parts of the body. It is composed of numerous bones, joints, and tendons. The heel is the largest bone in the foot. Heel pain can result from overuse or injury.
You may need to go to the doctor or podiatrist to diagnose heel pain if it is bad enough.
The following are many of the causes of heel pain:
Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar fasciitis happens if too much pressure on the feet harms the plantar fascia ligament. This results in pain and stiffness.
The pain occurs at the bottom of the heal. Heel That Pain, a heel pain website, states that plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain.
Treatment – The first step of treatment is to stay off of your feet. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society says that your soreness will probably resolve by itself without surgery if you rest it.
You also will want to apply ice for 20 minutes, four times per day. This will reduce swelling. It is a good idea to use arch supports in your shoes and do stretching exercises.
NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can diminish the inflammation in the ligament.
What Are the Medical Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis?
If your home treatment doesn’t help you, then your doctor can inject a corticosteroid into the ligament itself.
Physical therapy can also be of great use. Your therapist will help you stretch the area. She can also help develop your muscles to stabilize your walk. This will ease the pressure on the ligament.
If you still feel a lot of pain, then your doctor may advise you to get extracorporeal shock wave treatment. Through this form of therapy, the doctor uses sound waves to produce healing within the area.
If all else fails, there is the option of surgery. The surgeon can partially detach the ligament from the heel bone. Another type of surgery is called gastrocnemius recession. This surgery involves lengthening the calf muscle.
Braces and Supports
Night splints are another option. They can help stretch your calf and the arch of your foot. There are also arch supports and a special kind of boot that can help with the issue.
Sprains and Strains – These are a kind of injury. They occur as the result of physical activity.
Fracture – A fracture is a broken bone. This kind of injury is a medical emergency and needs attention.
Achilles Tendonitis – This condition happens when the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel becomes painful or inflamed as a result of the injury.
There are several methods of treatment for this issue.
The RICE Method
This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This is a good treatment for right after the injury occurs.
Rest basically means that you should put no pressure or weight on the tendon. You should stay off of it for a couple of days. This will help it heal.
You should put some ice in a bag, wrap it in cloth, and place the bag against your skin. Keep the bag on your tendon for about 20 minutes.
Wrap a bandage around the tendon to compress it. This will keep the swelling down. Be careful about how tight the bandage is. If it is too tight, it may cut off your blood flow.
Make sure to raise your foot above the level of your chest. This will cause the blood to move away from your foot and keep the swelling down.
Healthline says that you may need surgery to repair your tendon if home treatment doesn’t work. If the condition gets worse, it can lead to Achilles rupture. This needs a surgical intervention.
There are a few options that an orthopedic surgeon can recommend for a rupture surgery. One method is known as open repair. In this surgery, the surgeon sews the two sides of the ruptured tendon back together.
Another method has the surgeon pass needles with sutures through the tendon and the skin and backs out through the incision. They then tie the sutures together.
Bursitis – The bursae are sacs located around your joints. Bursitis affects these sacs.
Osteochondroses – These kinds of disorder affect the growth of bones in children and adolescents.
Reactive Arthritis – An infection in the body triggers this kind of arthritis. Healthline states that this infection most commonly is a sexually transmitted infection or a bacterial infection in the intestines.
Treatment for this condition will vary depending on the cause of the condition. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat an underlying infection.
In addition to getting the infection under control, your doctor will prescribe medication to provide pain relief and management. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are useful for fighting pain and inflammation.
If over-the-counter remedies don’t relieve your pain, then your doctor can prescribe stronger anti-inflammatories. Corticosteroids can suppress the inflammation in the body.
Corticosteroids can be administered orally or through an injection. If these don’t work, then immunomodulating agents may be needed. In severe cases, TNF inhibitors can be useful.
Incorporating exercise into your regimen can promote joint health. It will keep your joints flexible and aid in maintaining your range of motion. Your doctor might also refer you to a physical therapist.
What Are the Methods for General Heel Pain?
If you get heel pain, then you can try these home methods to ease your pain:
1. Rest as much as you can.
2. Put ice on the area for 15 minutes twice a day.
3. Administer some over-the-counter pain medications.
4. Use shoes that fit correctly.
5. Wear a night splint.
How Can You Prevent Heel Pain?
Here are some tips that you can implement to avoid injury and pain:
1. Wear shoes that correctly fit your foot.
2. Wear the proper shoes for the proper activity.
3. Stretch your muscles before activity.
4. Pace yourself during exercise.
5. Keep to a healthy eating pattern.
6. Rest when your muscles hurt.
7. Keep to a healthy weight.
What Are Heel Spurs?
A heel spur is a kind of growth on the heel. It can be one growth or many that are causing the issue. Heel spurs can be very painful.
Heel spurs are different from plantar fasciitis. They are most common among middle-aged men and women.
Conventional treatment for heel spurs most commonly includes rest, stretches, anti-inflammatory medications, and icing. Some people get steroid injections. In certain cases, surgery is performed.
Dr. Axe has seven natural solutions for remedying a heel spur.
Magnesium can be gotten through a few means. It is a crucial mineral for bone formation.
You can make a warm bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Simply add a cup of the salt to your bath water.
There are also many magnesium-rich foods that you can consume. The following foods contain a lot of magnesium:
- Swiss chard
- Black beans
- Pumpkin seeds
2. Vitamin B5
The foods that are naturally high in B5 include:
- Sunflower seeds
Taking B vitamin complex supplements can diminish your pain.
3. Proteolytic Enzymes
These enzymes can diminish inflammation. One type of a proteolytic enzyme is bromelain. Bromelain can be found in the pineapple.
4. Alkaline Diet
A bodily system that is too acidic has a difficult time absorbing calcium properly. Calcium is crucial for strengthening bones. The best advice to maintain your pH balance properly is to eat a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Processed foods contain too much salt and increase acidity.
5. Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids help fight inflammation. They are found in fatty fish such as salmon.
Foot massages can increase fluid flow, speed up the healing process, and break up scar tissue.
7. Minimalist Shoes
You need to be very careful to wear the right shoes for the right activity. You can put an end to heel spurs by wearing shoes that are right for your feet.
If your shoes are too tight, then they prevent the movement of the tendons. This can harm the bones in your feet. If you wear the correct shoes, it will reduce stress on your heels and help distribute your weight evenly.
We have seen in this article that heel pain can be caused by many different things. The treatment that you end up choosing will depend on the cause of the pain and the nature of the problem.
With proper diet and a little help from the tips mentioned above, you should be able to prevent most types of heel pain.
This is a useful YouTube video that goes into the various treatments.