Heel pain has a variety of causes, and depending on the cause, the pain can be on the bottom of your heel or the back of it. The pain may result from an acute injury or from a chronic condition. Heel pain shouldn't be ignored or you could cause damage to the tissues in your foot. A podiatrist has several heel pain services for treating heel pain. Here are some treatments that might help.
Resting With Your Foot Elevated
If your heel is injured, you may need to stay off of it as much as possible. Elevating your foot while you apply ice might help with the pain and inflammation in your heel. Continuing to run or play sports while you have heel pain might make healing impossible and lead to more extensive foot problems.
Wearing Splints At Night
Some forms of heel pain tend to get worse with rest. You may not feel pain while resting, but once you get up and start moving again, the pain in your heel can be intense. One solution for this is wearing a splint while you rest for long periods or at night while you sleep. A splint or brace keeps your foot in a stretched position so you don't have to endure the pain of sudden stretching of the tissues in your heel when you first start walking.
Taking Heel Injections
Your podiatrist might recommend heel injections to relieve your pain. The injections don't cure the problem, but they can make pain more tolerable. The injection might be a combination of an anesthetic and corticosteroid. The anesthetic provides immediate pain relief, although the pain will probably return later once the anesthetic wears off.
The corticosteroid provides pain relief by reducing swelling. The effect might not be noticed right away since it takes some time for swelling to decrease. The corticosteroid injection could provide pain relief for several weeks.
Learning Stretching Exercises
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, stretching exercises might help. Your podiatrist can teach you exercises or send you to a physical therapist to learn the proper technique for exercises that stretch the muscles, fascia, and tendons that connect to your heel to keep them from being tight and painful. Learning other exercises that strengthen your feet and ankles might also help reduce your pain.
Wearing Shoe Inserts
Your podiatrist can advise you on the best shoes to wear for your condition and the right inserts to put in your shoes. You may need to switch to running shoes that have heel protection built into them. You might be given custom inserts that support your heel, pad the heel of your shoe for comfort, or elevate your heel to keep it from stretching too far.
The first step in managing your heel pain is to diagnose the cause so the best treatment can be given. Your podiatrist may need to take x-rays or other exams of your foot and do a gait analysis to get to the root of the problem. Heel pain is a common condition, but you don't have to suffer from it on a chronic basis since your podiatrist can offer treatments that help.