One of the most common foot problems today is called plantar fasciitis. It is pronounced PLAN-TER FA-SHE-I-TIS. This foot problem is the number one complaint that podiatrist deal with in their offices today and it involves heel pain. Those that suffer from this problem are constantly in pain because of a problem that is difficult to treat and difficult to understand. However, not all cases of heel pain are caused by plantar fasciitis. Some are different heel injuries. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment can be difficult so it is important to understand the cause of these problems and learn how to treat them and prevent the pain.
Where It Starts And What It Feels Like
When you have heel pain, you know it because walking is very uncomfortable. The ball and arch of the foot are fine, but pressure on the heel of the foot is uncomfortable. It can be slightly tender and feel bruised or a little bit swollen, or it can be very painful and stabbing when you try to walk. It and also radiate out from the heel and make the rest of the foot hurt.
Any age group can be affected by heel pain, but it's typically seen more in older people or in individuals who are overweight or obese. An older, overweight person, for example, might have much more heel pain and discomfort than someone who is younger and who weighs less.
List Of Common Causes And Conditions of Heel Pain
Several things can cause heel pain, and some of them are considered to be much more common than others. Here are a few of the most common causes for people to have heel pain.
• Bruising – if you have hit your heel hard, have done a lot of jumping, or have walked or ran vigorously for exercise, it's possible that your heels will start to hurt. It's because of the extra pressure that's been put on the heel. It can bruise, just like any soft tissue. Even if it doesn't look discolored, it could still be bruised. That's important to be aware of when determining what has caused your heel pain.
• Bone spurs – some people have problems with their bone growth, and a bone spur can cause pain in the foot that appears as though it's coming from the heel. Only a doctor can diagnose this particular issue and make a determination as to whether a bone spur is causing heel pain.
• Weight – when someone is overweight or obese, it's possible for him or her to put so much pressure on the heels when walking that they become sore. Not all heavier people will have this problem, as it also depends on how they walk and whether they apply a lot of their weight to the heel portion of the foot or spread it out more evenly.
• Conditions that affect the way a person walks – if you have injured a leg, had a stroke, or otherwise had an issue that impairs the way you walk, you may be putting extra pressure on one or both heels. That can cause heel pain because of the extra strain that the heel is being put under, but this is often temporary.
• Wearing the wrong shoes – especially for women who wear high heels all day, the wrong shoes can cause a lot of discomfort, most commonly in the ball of the foot, because high heels force most of the weight to that area. Even shoes without high heels can cause foot pain if they don't have any support to them.
• Standing – this puts a lot of weight on the feet. Often the feet cannot take this much stress.
• Diabetes – individuals with diabetes are more at risk for foot problems because they suffer from nerve and skin problems. Therefore, they commonly are linked to foot pain and are often advised to check their feet daily.
• Arthritis – pain in the joints can lead to common foot problems. For many people this occurs in the toes. It causes a severe pain and makes it hard to walk.
• Age – As individual’s age, their feet age and they begin to develop conditions that could relate to foot problems. Many times their feet become flat and the fat pad on the bottom of their foot decreases in size. This means they do not have the same amount of protection on their feet as a they once did.
• Plantar Fasciitis – this is the most common condition. It causes heel pain. Individuals that suffer from plantar fasciitis experience stress on the plantar fascia – the tissue that lines the bottom of their feet. When the plantar fascia becomes stressed or inflamed, it often pulls on the heel causing heel pain.
• Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – a nerve related problem that creates heel pain.
• Sever’s Disease – A condition that causes heel pain in children due to growth problems.
List Of Common Treatment Options for Heel Pain
Treating heel pain can be easy or difficult, depending on what's causing the pain in the first place. If you have heel pain, here are some things you can try at home for relief.
• Soaking your feet and/or propping them up is a good way to relax the muscles and take the strain off of the heels. It may be a temporary fix, but it often helps you feel better.
• Buying orthopedic shoes or inserts can also help your heel pain to feel better. These can cushion the heel or even redistribute the weight that you are putting on your heels in order to relieve some of the pain that's being felt.
• Losing weight is another way to relieve heel pain if you are overweight or obese. It's not usually going to be helpful for people who are already in their ideal weight range.
• Surgery, laser therapy, and ultrasounds are popular when foot pain becomes unmanageable.
• New shoes or inserts might provide better cushioning for your feet. This could eliminate the cause of the heel pain in many people.
Since heel pain is a consistent problem in many people it is important to try everything that could minimize the pain associated with this problem. Some remedies are great combined with others. They will all be helpful to treat pain. Finding the right combination for your heel pain is something that can be done on your own or with a doctor. Here are some suggestions:
• Herbal remedies are a good option to decrease foot pain. Many peopel that suffer from plantar fasciitis use herbal remedies. Try using hot linseed oil packs. Heat it up and saturate a cloth in the pack. Applying the cloth to the pain on the foot will help decrease pain.
• Arnica and chamomile in the bath will help decrease the foot pain. Both herbs are thought to be extremely healing.
• Supplements are beneficial to help with foot pain. There are a variety of different supplements that are beneficial. These include, calcium, magnesium, whole leaf, cold processed aloe vera juice, glucosamine sulfate, shark cartilage, bromelain, evening, primrose oil, and kelp.
• Yoga is also very beneficial for foot pain because it helps stretch out the pain. Certain stretches can be done at home or in a class.
• Ice massages on the feet are also beneficial and help massage the feet and reduce inflammation.
• Rolling a golf ball under the sole of the foot is a helpful exercise for heel pain sufferers. It allows many people to massage the infected area, thus relieving pain in their foot.
• Avoiding flip flops and sandals is a good idea. These shoes increase heel pain because they lack support and irritate the feet.
When To See The Doctor for Heel Pain
It may be important to visit the podiatrist for heel pain if it becomes too severe and affects your daily activities. Here are some guidelines to evaluate when a doctor may be necessary:
• Has walking become extremely uncomfortable and almost impossible? Then, seeing a doctor is important.
• It is important to see a doctor if the activity level you're used to cannot be performed the same. Continuing your same level of activity with heel pain could only make the problem worse.
• See the doctor if rest does not make the heel pain go away.
• See the doctor if pain in the heel is severe and the foot begins to swell.
• Diabetes patients should call the doctor right away if they experience a cut or sore on their foot that is red, swollen, warm to the touch, or oozing pus.
• A visit to the doctor's office should be scheduled if the swelling after an injury does not go down after three days.
• Visit the doctor if the ankle begins to swell, becomes stiff, and the pain becomes worse in the morning. Plantar fasciitis patients almost always have pain first thing in the morning.
• See the doctor for burning or numbness and tingling in the feet or heel. This could be an indication of a nerve problem.
Managing Heel Pain
Make sure to stay off your feet as much as possible and implement various treatment options. In doing so, the heel pain will most likely be minimized. Using a combination of medical and home treatments is the fastest way to get relief.
I regularly add more detailed strategies I use to combat living with pain. Managing pain is more than one page of advice. I hope my strategies for managing my pain will help you too.