Causes and Treatment for Heel Pain - Suffolk Foot and Ankle

Causes and Treatment for Heel Pain

Causes and Treatment for Heel Pain

If you suffer from heel pain, you know how much it can affect your quality of life. As much as you want to be active, heel pain always gets in the way of it. The good news is that there is something you can do about it if you know what is causing it.

Causes of Heel Pain

People who experience chronic heel pain often suffer from a condition called plantar fasciitis. Those who have a spur in the heel suffer from heel spur syndrome.

Other causes of heel pain may include:

  • Stress Fracture – The heel bone may become cracked, which can cause pain.
  • Tendonitis – This is inflammation or irritation of the tendon.
  • Arthritis – Arthritis is an inflammation in a joint.
  • Nerve Irritation – When nerves become damaged, they are irritated and can cause long lasting pain.
  • Cyst – This is a sac-like pocket of tissues, air, fluid and other substances.

The only way to know what exactly is causing a heel spur is to seek the help of a podiatrist, such as one at Suffolk Foot and Ankle.

Treatment for Heel Pain

The first step in treating heel pain is to have it diagnosed. A foot and ankle doctor will first review your medical history and examine your foot. This person will ask you a series of questions to identify what may be causing the pain. The answers to these questions will help rule out the most obvious causes such as a stress fracture or arthritis.

If the doctor can’t conclude what has caused the pain, an x-ray may be taken. This will help the doctor see what is going on inside of the foot, specifically the heel.

Once a diagnosis has been reached, the next part is to treat it.

Since plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis, we will use that condition as the basis for the following treatment options.

Starting with the most minimally invasive treatment options is the best approach.

  • Stretching Exercises

Stretching the calf muscles can help with easing the pain and it can help with the recovery process.

  • No Walking Barefoot

Plantar fasciitis can be aggravated by walking on it barefoot because it puts unnecessary strain and pressure on it.

  • Ice

Ice can reduce swelling and temporarily numb the pain. Simply wrap ice with a towel and place it on the heel for 20 minutes. This can be done several times a day.

  • Reduce Activity

Try to limit the amount of physical activity you do while you’re in pain. This can help it heal.

  • Change Shoes

Shoes with more support can keep strain/stress off the plantar fasciitis.

  • Pain Relief Medication

Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce the heel pain until the plantar fasciitis heels.

After using all these treatment options, you don’t feel relief from heel pain, it may be time for invasive methods.

  • Injection Therapy

This involves a corticosteroid injection into the heel. This reduces inflammation and heel pain.

  • Walking Cast

A walking cast can help relieve the strain/stress on the heel, which will help it recover.

  • Night Splint

This stretches the heel while you sleep. It can help a plantar fasciitis heal and prevent pain in the morning.

  • Physical Therapy

Physical therapists have specific exercises to help people who suffer from plantar fasciitis. These exercises must be performed on a regular basis for a while to be effective.

  • Surgery

This is the most invasive form of treatment, which is why it is listed last. Most people do not need surgery if they suffer from plantar fasciitis. However, there are some people who do not respond to the other options.

Treatments for Other Causes of Heel Pain

People who have a stress fracture will be told to stay off their heels for at least a week to help with the healing process. Crutches or other device may be recommended to keep people from putting weight on it.

The same treatment is recommended for tendonitis. Staying off the heel will allow the irritation and inflammation to decrease.

Arthritis is a condition that requires long-term management. Doctors can prescribe medications that specifically treats the symptoms of arthritis.

Nerve issues causing heel pain may take a long time to heel, but with time, it does go away. Managing the pain with pain relief medications is the best way to get through the recovery process.

If the cause of the heel pain is a cyst, surgery will be needed to remove it. It’s important to know that cysts are rare.

Heel Pain Treatment in Suffolk County

If you’re suffering from heel pain, contact the experienced and knowledgeable podiatrists at Suffolk Foot and Ankle. We have offices conveniently located in East Patchogue, Riverhead, Medford and Commack. Our podiatrists can diagnose the issue with your heels and then offer you the best treatment option available for the condition.