For some, heel pain has only just begun to develop. Perhaps you start to notice it after a long day on the job, after a run, or for a few minutes after getting out of bed in the morning.
For others, heel pain has been a consistent thorn, regularly getting in the way of enjoying the day and many of its activities. You may have come to dread placing your feet on the floor each morning, knowing you’ll have to hobble for a bit until the discomfort starts to subside.
Whether your condition is recent or chronic, however, everyone with heel pain has one thing in common: they want it gone! Finding a treatment that works, however, may be more challenging than expected.
One Problem, Many Potential Possibilities
“Heel pain” is not a singular problem with just one possible diagnosis. It’s more a symptom that can be associated with a variety of different conditions—and each of those conditions can have different underlying causes.
We frequently hear about instances in which someone has tried one or two methods they thought would bring relief from their heel pain, only to find it barely had any effect or was no help whatsoever.
We know how discouraging that feeling can be. It’s easy to resign yourself to the notion that, if these attempts didn’t work, then probably nothing will. Many resign themselves to just enduring the pain as it comes, and perhaps even coming to the conclusion that they “deserve” it because of the demands of their life or job.
But all of these notions are false!
There is always something that can be done to improve heel pain or eliminate it altogether. It doesn’t matter how long you have had it, and you certainly don’t “deserve” it.
Most effective treatments for heel pain are conservative in nature, as well. If you’re afraid of pursuing answers for your pain because you’re afraid of being told surgery is your only option, don’t be! Surgery is only required in a very small number of cases. Many conditions can be treated effectively through conservative methods, or advanced treatments such as EPAT.
The key to effective treatment is in finding the root of problem. And that’s where things need may need a thorough approach.
We have a new digital guide, “Free Yourself from Heel Pain,” that dives deeper into the causes of heel pain (we go into seven, and that isn’t even all of them!) and what can be done to help put all that trouble behind you.
While we’ll cover some of these causes briefly in this blog, the guide will provide even more information, and you can download it to read it wherever you want! Just follow the link below to request your copy.
But now, let’s talk a little bit about just what can be hiding behind a heel pain diagnosis.
What Can Cause Heel Pain?
If you are simply talking about what kinds of conditions can cause heel pain, there are many. A list of common causes can include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Heel spurs
- Stress fractures
- Haglund’s deformity (pump bump)
And this doesn’t include more uncommon diagnoses such as osteomyelitis or sarcoidosis (and we’re glad they’re more uncommon because they’re harder to spell).
Each condition represents a different way that things can go wrong to end up with pain and discomfort in the heel area. Nailing down the condition requires a full examination, but it’s only one part of the full picture we need.
Having the diagnosis matters, but we must then determine what factors have contributed to that problem developing. Addressing these factors, along with identifying the condition itself, will often yield the best results.
For example, there might be two patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, or the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs along the arches. Let’s say one is a distance runner, while the other is a plumber.
The runner’s plantar fasciitis might be caused by overuse. They are simply running too much or at too high an intensity than what their feet can currently keep up with. A period of rest and a change in routine might be what they need to recover.
The plumber is not out running marathons. They may be spending a lot of time standing or in a stooped position in their work, however. This could be placing extra strain on their plantar fascia, leading to their condition. Custom orthotics, a pad to place beneath their feet when working, and stretches to take stress off their calf muscles and plantar fascia could be effective.
However, it’s also possible that these aren’t the reasons why each patient has plantar fasciitis! It might be an abnormality in foot structure instead, or poor shoes. That’s why it’s so important to be thorough and take a steady approach to diagnosis and treatment.
Find the Right Help for Your Heel Pain
Want to know more about heel pain causes and treatments? Our digital guide is always available at your request!
And if you wish to make an appointment to get help with your heel pain, give our Freeland office a call at (989) 695-6788 or fill out our online contact form to have a member of our office reach out to you.