Heel pain has several causes, but it usually happens as a result of overuse. If you’ve been experiencing heel pain, don’t ignore it as it could turn into a chronic condition. Board-certified podiatrist Shermi Parikh, DPM, at Family Foot and Ankle Center in Niles and Berwyn, Illinois, diagnoses and treats conditions that cause heel pain. In many cases, heel pain gets worse if you don’t address what’s causing it, so be sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible by calling the nearest office or using the online booking feature.
Heel Pain Q & A
What causes heel pain?
Heel pain usually occurs as the result of injuries or overuse and affects the bottom or back of your heel. Conditions that cause heel pain include:
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bones to your toes. It’s common among distance runners and people who work on their feet.
Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects your calf to your heel bone. Your Achilles tendon helps you lift your heel when you walk or run. The condition often affects runners and people who play sports only occasionally.
A heel spur is a bony growth resulting from a buildup of calcium. It often accompanies plantar fasciitis.
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone that develops slowly from overuse or excess pressure.
Your podiatrist at Family Foot and Ankle Center examines your foot to determine the exact cause of your heel pain.
How is heel pain diagnosed?
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, but your doctor makes sure to pinpoint what’s causing pain before determining a course of treatment. They locate the pain in your affected foot and ask specific questions about your pain, including whether it’s worse in the morning or after exercising.
This examination may be enough to confirm a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. If not, your doctor may order an MRI or X-ray to look for stress fractures, heel spurs, and other sources of heel pain.
How is heel pain treated?
Treatment for heel pain depends on what’s causing it. To manage the pain of an inflammatory condition like plantar fasciitis, your doctor may recommend pain medications and self-care such as rest and ice. This also helps to avoid placing further stress on your heel and worsening your inflammation.
An important part of managing heel pain is preventing it from returning. Preventive steps include:
- Combining running with other forms of exercise to reduce pressure on your heel
- Slowly increasing the intensity or length of your workouts
- Wearing shoes designed for the activity you’re doing, including custom orthotics that align and support the bones in your feet
Don’t ignore persistent heel pain. To get a diagnosis and treatment, call Family Foot and Ankle Center or schedule an appointment online today.