Why You May Suffer From Heel Pain

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What can carry you from your bed to your car in the morning? Feet! But we rarely think about them until they start to hurt. To get the right treatment for persistent foot pain, you need to identify the problem – and the first thing to consider is where exactly you feel the pain?

Heel Pain

If the discomfort is in your heel, you may be experiencing plantar fasciitis. The inflammation of the group of fibrous tissue connecting the heel bone to your toes. Usually, it hurts the most in the morning upon getting out of bed. To treat it at home:

  • Avoid putting pressure on your foot.
  • Perform heel and foot muscle stretches.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil or Motrin.
  • Wear shoes with good support and a cushioned sole.

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are another common source of foot pain. These are unusual germinations of bone on the underside of your heel. You can get them from wearing faulty shoes or from an unnatural posture, or even from exercises like running.

The spurs usually hurt when you’re walking or just standing. Many people have them, but most don’t experience discomfort. To treat them:

  • Use a custom-made insert (called an orthotic) worn in the shoe.
  • Wear a cutout heel pad.
  • Wear shoes that have shock-absorbing soles.
  • Take pain relievers.
  • Avoid putting pressure on your foot.
  • Seek physical therapy.

Stone Bruise

A stone bruise is a serious bruise on the ball of the foot that often occurs after an impact injury, but it can also happen if you step on a hard object (Lego not included). It feels like you’re walking with a pebble on the ball of your feet. A stone bruise injury will subside on its own.

In the meantime:

  • Ice the region.
  • Rest your foot.
  • Take pain relievers.

Heel Fracture

heel fracture

A heel fracture occurs after a high-impact injury such as a fall or violent car accident. Heel pain, swelling, bruising, or difficulty walking are the main symptoms. To treat it:

  • Avoid putting pressure on the heel (use crutches).
  • Preserve the heel with pads.
  • Wear a cast to protect the heel bone.
  • Seek physical therapy.
  • If the pain doesn’t subside, ask your doctor about surgery.

Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma produces an inflammation of the tissue around the nerves at the bases of your toes (typically between the third and fourth toes). When experiencing Morton’s neuroma, you usually feel discomfort, unusual sensations, or even numbness over the ball of your foot. Women have it more often as it can be a result of wearing high heels. To treat it:

  • Wear comfortable shoes to reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Get a steroid shot into the foot.
  • Take pain relievers.
  • Stay away from high-heeled shoes.
  • Avoid exercises that put stress on the neuroma.
  • Ask your physician about surgery.

Sesamoiditis

Two bones are connected only by tendons near your big toe. They’re called sesamoids. You get sesamoiditis when the tendons surrounding the toe are damaged and irritated. It’s a kind of tendinitis common among runners and ballerinas. To treat it:

  • Rest your toes.
  • Ice the area where it hurts.
  • Wear a footpad under the toe in a well-cushioned shoe.
  • Immobilize the joint by taping the big toe to the one next to it to allow healing.
  • Wear low-heeled shoes.
  • Ask your physician about steroid injections.

Fallen Arches

Fallen arches or flat feet occur when the arches of your feet flatten out, causing foot pain and other issues. Flat feet can be managed with shoe inserts, shoe modifications, adequate rest, consistent icing and immobilizing, using a brace, or physical therapy. In rare cases, surgery may be required.

Toe Pain

Gout, which is a kind of arthritis, can cause discomfort in the toes. Crystals accumulate in toe joints, causing unrelenting pain and inflammation. To treat it:

  • Rest the foot.
  • Ice the region.
  • Take medications such as colchicine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or prednisone.

Bunion & Hammertoe

A bunion is a structural growth along the foot’s edge, next to the bottom of the big toe. It’s linked to the misalignment of the joint of the first toe. Nobody is immune to them, especially if they wear the wrong shoes. People with bunions often have hammertoes as well. Try switching to more comfortable shoes or using shoe inserts. If the pain persists, your doctor may recommend surgery.

A hammertoe occurs when the second, third, or fourth toe bends at the middle joint, forming a hammer-like shape. It can develop from a muscle shortcoming, but it can also be caused by wearing the wrong shoes. To treat it:

  • Your doctor will probably suggest you wear shoes with a wide, deep toe sole. 
  • Perform exercises to stretch your toe muscles. 
  • If you feel pain, talk to your doctor about surgery.

Claw Toe

Claw toe occurs when your toe tends downward or upward and is incapable of straightening. It’s usually the result of nerve damage from conditions like diabetes or alcoholism, which impairs the muscles in your foot. Without the proper footwear to support the claw toe, you may develop soreness and calluses. To treat it:

  • Change to more comfortable footwear. 
  • Avoid high heels and tight shoes.
  • Perform toe joints stretches.
  • Use shoe inserts.
  • Ask your doctor about surgery.

Takeaway

If you have persistent foot pain and it has gotten to a point where it really bothers you and doesn’t seem to be getting better, don’t try to manage it on your own. You should talk to your doctor. There are lots of traditional, non-surgical ways to treat all of these problems.

 

 

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