Chronic pain can be debilitating, especially when it affects hard-working parts of your body––like your feet and toes. But you don’t have to suffer through it. In fact, with proper treatment from a podiatrist, you can get back out there and enjoy a life pain free.
Where Does Heel Pain Occur?
Plenty of patients generally describe their chronic heel pain as being just behind the heel or underneath it. This pain is usually felt where the Achilles tendon connects to the heel bone. It’s also common for patients to describe their pain as if it’s coming from the side of the heel.
Usually, an injury is not the cause of chronic heel pain––it’s overuse through excessive physical activity. Old age can also contribute to the severity of heel pain. Generally, chronic heel pain starts out as a mild condition, but over time it increases in severity and intensity.
What Causes Chronic Heel Pain?
If you have chronic heel pain, a likely culprit is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the bottom of your foot, namely the plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia gets stretched too much, the fibers become inflamed and the result is intense pain.
A different kind of cause for chronic heel pain is heel bursitis. This type of inflammation occurs in the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that lubricates and cushions the bones in your foot. With bursitis, pain is usually felt at the back of the heel or deep inside of it. It’s not uncommon for the Achilles tendon to swell if the condition is severe enough.
Sometimes, patients experience pain in the heel pad of the foot. This is generally due to the forceful impact of taking heavy footsteps.
Lastly, heel pain can be attributed to a stress fracture in the metatarsal bones of the foot. Strenuous activities such as sports, exercise, and manual work can cause extra stress on the foot or heel.
How Can I Treat Chronic Heel Pain?
If you identify with any of the above conditions, it’s a good idea to give your doctor a call so you can have an evaluation and discuss treatment options.
For most chronic pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce swelling and pain around the heel and foot area. This is usually the first treatment course your doctor will take. However, if NSAIDs do not alleviate your pain, your doctor might try corticosteroid injections. These injections must be prescribed by your doctor prior to use and can have long-term side effects. Talk to your primary physician before trying corticosteroids.
There are other treatment options to consider if you don’t want to take drugs to alleviate your pain. Different types of physical therapy can work to strengthen the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Other non-invasive treatment options include orthotics, athletic tape, and insoles.
Finally, if all of the above measures do not correct your problem or bring relief, you can opt to have surgery.
Chronic heel pain can limit your daily activities and hold you back from living a healthy, active lifestyle. However, with the right podiatrist, you can get back on your feet in no time. Set up an appointment with one of our podiatrists at Foot Specialists of Birmingham, today.