How To Eliminate Heel Pain

In order to eliminate heel pain, we have to know what causes heel pain? Although the term heel pain is somewhat general, if you suffer from the condition you can testify to the significance of the injury.  The source of the pain in the arch area on the underside of the foot can vary.

Heel pain can be due to a trauma such as forcefully striking the heel on a hard surface or it may be an overuse injury, such as plantar fasciitis.

The calcaneus bone, or heel bone, has a thick layer of fat and protective fascia on its underside to provide padding as it makes contact with the ground.  Excessive forces or repetitive pounding of the heel can cause the fat pad to move or become inflamed.  When the protective layer under the heel bone decreases in efficiency like this, heel pain and burning feet can result.

Common Sources of Heel Pain:

  • Plantar Fasciitis – A common source of arch pain, this inflammatory process involves the plantar fascia, which enters into the back of the arch.
  • Heel Bone Spur – This occurs when excessive bone forms under the calcaneus(heel).
  • Heel Contusion – Known as a bruising of the heel bone.
  • Calcaneal Stress Fracture – This is a preliminary or significant fracture of the calcaneus bone.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome – This happens when the nerves encroach the back of the foot and arch.
  • Calcaneal bursitis – Is inflammation of the sack of fluid which sits under the heel
  • An increased warmth and possible swelling of the underside of the heel bone.
  • Arch pain originating on the heel and possibly extending into the underside of the foot towards the toes.
  • Posterior heel pain with weight bearing on the foot, which may worsen with active toe flexion.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Tenderness anywhere associated with the surface of the heel bone.
  • An increased warmth and possible swelling of the underside of the heel bone.
  • Arch pain originating on the heel and possibly extending into the underside of the foot towards the toes.
  • Posterior heel pain with weight bearing on the foot, which may worsen with active toe flexion.

Professional Treatment for Heel Pain

  • Icing the entire heel bone with an ice bag, ice massage or, ideally, with an ice bucket.
  • Rest the area to minimize the pressure on the calcaneus.
  • Easy massage of the arch and toes.
  • Modify the shoes to increase the padding encompassing the heel bone to provide greater shock absorption.
  • Increased calf stretching to allow greater pain-free movement of the ankle joint.
  • Consider utilizing orthotics or arch supports, depending upon your lower extremity anatomical alignment and biomechanics.
  • Heel bone spur symptoms can be improved with treatment noted above and it may require surgery.

 

Receive The Best Care By Asking The Best Questions

To ensure you receive the best possible care for your injured foot, ask questions like a smart professional athlete who wants to safely return to his/her sport as quickly as possible.  Here’s what a pro athlete would ask his sports medicine specialist:

  1. Are you certain of the diagnosis?
  2. Do I need an x-ray to determine the extent of this injury?
  3. What are my options with treating this injury?
  4. What can I expect with this injury for the next 2, 4 and 6 weeks?
  5. Who do you consider to be the expert heel pain rehab specialist in this area?
  6. Will I be given a detailed rehabilitation protocol to direct my rehab for both my therapist and me?

Tips to Quickly Recover from Heel Pain

  • Start Treatment Fast – Arch pain and heel pain are not injuries to ignore.  Start the treatment fast and this injury can usually be resolved quickly with minimal downtime.
  • Sole Searching – The shoes are typically the source of your problem.  Old shoes, improper shoes and worn shoe soles are common factors that lead to arch pain and burning feet.
  • Ice is Your Friend – It’s a reality check:  Ice hurts but it’s exactly what you need for this injury.  The Pro’s will tell you that ice is their best teammate.  Stop complaining and do what you know you need….ICE and lots of it.
  • What to Expect – The recovery time for heel pain is typically minimal.  As long as there is no stress fracture, large bone spur or significant plantar fasciitis, the downtime for this injury can range from a couple of days to a few weeks.  Treat it early to determine the source(s) of the problem, correct it and you’ll be back in the game before anyone knew that you were icing your heel!

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

one × 1 =