October 31, 2014

Heel Pain

Heel Pain

Heel pain is one of the most common medical conditions that affect most people. Anyone can suffer from this great source of discomfort. While suffering from this condition, you can feel the pain all the way to your knee and hips thus affecting your movement and posture. As such, it is crucial that you seek treatment from this condition in order to free your legs from pain and discomfort.

So What is Heel Pain?

This is a mild, and sometimes severe, pain that occurs under the heel (Planter fasciitis), or in the area where the Achilles tendon connects to your heel bone. While this pain can be severe and sometimes immobilizing, it is rarely life threatening. The pain can disappear on its own or at times become chronic.                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Signs and Symptoms of Heel Pain

Heel pain usually comes gradually, with no injury to the painful area. Most often, it is triggered by walking with flat shoes such as flip-flop sandals over a long distance. This type of footwear may stretch your planter fascia, causing inflammation in the area. Most often, the pain occurs under the foot, toward the front of your heel.

The symptoms of heel pain tend to intensify in the morning when you are getting up from bed or after having a prolonged rest during the day. The pain can subside after a bit of activity only to return towards the end of your day.



Causes of heel pain

Usually, this condition is never caused by a single injury, like a fall or a twist, but rather as a result of continuous stress on your heel. The most common causes of the pain include:
i.    Planter fasciitis
This is a condition where inflammation develops at the bottom of your foot. Some of the causes of this condition include old age, excessive running, high arches, flat feet, problems with your Achilles tendon and obesity. When you are suffering from this condition, you will feel irritations on the tight tissue that forms the arch of your foot, thus resulting into inflammation. People with high-arched feet or extreme flat feet are at a high risk of developing planter fasciitis.

ii.    Heel bursitis
This is an inflammation that occurs at the back of your heel, the bursa. Usually, it develops when you land awkwardly or hard on your heels. Pressure from footwear can also cause it, resulting into a fibrous sac full of fluid. When suffering from this condition, you will either feel the pain deep inside or at the back of your heel. Sometimes, your Achilles tendon may swell, worsening the pain as your day progresses.

iii.    Heel bumps (pump bumps)
This is common in teenagers and children whose heel bones are not yet mature. As the heel area is rubbed excessively, the result is the formation of too much bone. It is caused when the patient has a flat foot. However, in females, this condition develops when they start putting on high heel shoes before their bone can fully mature.

Other causes of include tarsal tunnel syndrome, chronic inflammation of the heel pad, stress fracture, severe diseases (calcaneal apophysitis), Achilles tendonosis (degenerative tendinopathy) gout and bone cyst among other causes.

Heel Pain X-Ray ExamSigns That You Need to Visit a Doctor About Your Heel Pain Condition

If you are suffering from heel pain, then you need to visit a doctor as soon as you notice the following symptoms:
•    A feeling of numbness or tingling on your heel, as well as pain and fever
•    Severe pain that is accompanied by swelling around your heel area
•    When you cannot bend your foot downwards or walk normally
•    When the pain is persistent for more than one week, especially when you are not standing or walking for long hours
•    When you cannot rise on your toes



Diagnosis of Heel Pain

You need to visit a podiatrist (a physician whose specialty is evaluation and treatment of foot diseases and infections) as soon as you notice the symptoms of your heel pain. This physician will carry out physical examination and ask important questions about your pain. Some of the questions that you will be asked include the amount of time you spend standing or walking, the type of footwear that you are fond of using and the details of your medical history.



Treatment for Heel Pain

Heel Pain treatment depends entirely on the cause of the condition. Thus, you need to understand the cause of your pain before embarking on any kind of treatment. While this condition may be managed through non-surgical treatments, this also depends entirely on the severity of the pain that you are experiencing.

The most effective non-surgical treatment that you can apply is getting adequate rest. You need to rest your feet by avoiding rigorous activities like running, walking for long distances, and standing for a long time. In addition, you need to use comfortable footwear always. Some of the medications that you can take include anti-inflammatory drugs and injection therapies such as corticosteroid injections, which work by relieving the pain and inflammation.

Heel pain is a condition that affects most people, of all age groups. However, you can manage this condition and enjoy your life. All you have to do is to diagnose the exact cause of your heel pain in order to seek the right treatment and management therapies.


 Utah Doctor Explains Revolutionary Treatment For Heel Pain In This Video

More Information On Heel Pain

Treating heel pain should be addressed as soon as possible to keep what may be a temporary problem from becoming a chronic condition. While painful heels may occur for varying reasons, the impact on daily life may be virtually the same. Experiencing discomfort with virtually each step will obviously effect how you work or spend your workout and leisure time, and your initial response will greatly affect the healing process.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Sources of Heel Pain

Even though the feeling may be similar, all such discomfort is not the same. Accordingly, receiving a proper diagnosis should likely be the first step in alleviating your pain. Once you have been examined by a podiatrist, you will learn how to proceed in the safest and most effective way possible. Typically, painful heels are categorized as:

•    Plantar fasciitis
•    Heel bursitis
•    Heel bumps

Whatever the eventual diagnosis, your first sign of discomfort may be treated with surprisingly simple remedies. Oftentimes, the real problem comes from forgoing sensible recommendations and continuing with practices that only exacerbate the condition. Incorporating several methods simultaneously may be helpful as well against heel pain.

                                                                                                                                                         Treatment Options For Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis treatment typically begins with implementing practices that will reduce inflammation in the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Likewise, heel bursitis requires a separate diagnosis, and the treatment emphasis will likely be on cushioning the sole against injurious movements. Heel bumps are treated with orthotics to improve and control foot function. Accordingly, your treatment may include one or more of the following:

•    Rest
•    Changes in footwear
•    Stretching exercises
•    Orthotics
•    Insoles
•    Anti-inflammatory medication
•    Taping and strapping
•    Heat applications
•    Cold therapies
•    Laser treatments
•    Hydrocortisone injections
•    Night splints

As overuse and misuse are often at the root of burgeoning discomfort, rest is often the first recommendation regardless of the diagnosis. Substituting relatively flimsy footwear for shoes that offer cushioning for the bottom of your feet and encompassing support may effectively treat a mild case of plantar fasciitis. Exercises designed to stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon may be incorporated along with devices designed to cushion your arch may be needed to treat plantar fasciitis as well. More serious conditions may require taking medication to reduce inflammation or undergoing steroid injections.

Your podiatrist may prescribe taping and strapping to hold your heel in place during the day or night splints to keep your ligaments from tightening up overnight. Cold therapies such as ice massages, cold packs, or ice baths may be recommended to reduce inflammation, and these treatment options are often very useful for milder cases. Conversely, heat or laser treatments may be worth considering as well to reduce the heel pain.

Heel pain may be slightly bothersome at best or severely limiting at its worst. Accordingly, working with a competent medical professional would be strongly recommended. Treating heel pain quickly and with a simple but comprehensive treatment plan may ultimately alleviate your pain and let you get back to genuinely enjoying what you love most.


Getting to the Source of Heel Pain

Getting at the source of heel pain is essential when trying to treat it, so finding the right doctor is quite crucial.  There are many factors that can cause pain and discomfort in the heel including
•    heel spur
•    plantar fasciitis
•    posterior heel pain
•    stress fractures
•    tarsal tunnel syndrome
A good podiatrist will know all these potential causes of heel pain and should be able to treat the condition accordingly.  It is important that the doctor be able to identify the cause because each cause must be treated in its own way.

When to See a Doctor
Even though heel pain can be temporary or just a minor inconvenience, there are definitely a few signs that will merit the care of a doctor.  For instance, if the heel pain is persistent and lasts for more than a few days, the underlying cause could be serious.  You should also see a doctor if the pain tends to occur at night or while resting.  When you have difficulty or discomfort walking or a discoloration or swelling on the back of the foot, you want to see a doctor.  Also, any unusual symptoms or signs of an infection need some medical attention.

What the Doctor Should Tell You
When you see a doctor for heel pain, not only should he or she be able to tell you the source or cause of your heel pain but also that it can usually be treated through non-invasive methods.  For example, heel pain is commonly treated with ice packs in order to control and alleviate symptoms.  Even just staying off the feet for a day or too will help with severe pain and inflammation.

In some cases, your heel pain may need some anti-inflammatory medication.  Although you can find some of these medications over the counter, you may need a prescription for some kinds of conditions, so your doctor should tell you which is best for your particular treatment.  Your doctor can also tell you about other simple treatments such as shoe inserts that can help even when the heel pain stems from problems with arches, pinched nerves or other such conditions.  If appropriate, the doctor can also show you some stretches and exercises that may help treat and prevent heel pain.

These are common treatments for heel pain, but they may not be appropriate for all kinds of causes.  You need to find a doctor that will give you a proper diagnosis so that you are sure to get the right treatment.  Furthermore, if you are someone who is into natural or homeopathic treatments, your doctor should respect your wishes and work with you to determine what kind of treatments would work best for heel pain.