Common Foot And Heel Pain Problems And Treatments
Are your feet or heels sore and painful when you walk or stand for periods of time, play sports or go running?
Or do you suffer from painful feet when you first wake up in the morning as soon as you step out of bed?
If so, you may have a condition that needs treatment to help relieve pain. However, the treatments available can range from simple resting to strapping or surgery. Also, some are less effective then others.
The difficultly with painful feet is that there are many different causes that can be hard to identify. If it is not obvious where your foot pain is coming from, the most important step is to make an appointment with your doctor or even better, a podiatrist.
These specialists will be be able to help diagnose if your problem is more serious than simple muscle, tendon or bone issues. They can also help define and implement a treatment plan that is tailor made for you and your feet. Compared to just grabbing a pair of orthotic insoles from the shelf of your local pharmacy or shoe shop, a podiatrist will provide a more holistic approach to healing your feet.
Let’s look at some of the most common causes of foot and heel pain and some simple treatments that might help you.
Plantar Fasciitis – one of the most common problems.
There is a band of tissue that connects on the underside of your foot, between the heel and the toes and is called the Plantar. When this becomes inflamed or damaged, it can be very painful (usually at either end rather than in the middle) and is called Plantar Fasciitis.
Common causes of this injury can be from sports related activities or simply that you are not wearing very good quality shoes.
Luckily, Plantar Fasciitis is easily treated and initial remedies will involve icing the affected area, resting it and performing specific Plantar Fasciitis exercises to help stretch the band of tissue.
If these do not work, your doctor may advise that other medication or steroid injections may be required, but the problem usually clears up after using proper orthotics, shoes and following the exercises.
Stone Bruises – small things can give painful feet.
Stepping on a small object such as a rock or pebble with your heel can end up causing you excruciating pain. Even though the heels of our feet are quite tough, smaller objects can cause bruises to the pads which can make walking very painful afterwards.
If you think of the weight pressing down through your heel, the possibility of injury is actually quite easy.
The simple relief for these sorts of injuries is rest, anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and a slight alteration to walk on the balls of your feet for a while, until the pain goes away.
Achilles Tendonitis – pain at the back of the foot.
Like the hand, the foot is also a very complex part of the body. The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons and pain can affect any part of this amazing limb.
The Achilles tendon, at the back of the foot can become very painful and hurt with every step. This is because it has become inflamed, possibly just through wear and tear or most often because of sports activities. You may have heard of professional sportsmen complaining of this injury.
Like most problems with painful feet, the best remedy is to rest and do stretching exercises. You can also try wearing shoes that have open backs that are not touching the Achilles area, which will help reduce pain when walking.
Heel Spurs – no cowboys involved with this injury.
A heel spur is quite a generic term that people use for painful heels and feet, but it is a specific problem. A small calcaneus lump of bone can form at the back of the heel, usually in patients that suffer from Pantar Fasciitis or similar problems. The lump can be very painful to walk with and your doctor will be able to identify that it exists by using X-ray.
Other causes of heel spurs include sports, a tendency to be overweight or that you are simply spending too much time standing up. It is also an affliction that seems to affect women more than men. The best treatment for heel spurs is to use properly made orthotics and to rest and ice the affected area. In the worst case scenario, surgery may be needed, but this is only used as a last resort.
The most effective treatment for painful feet
You may have spotted that the easiest way to treat your painful feet is to perform stretches and exercises. In fact, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) said that over 72% of patients using just exercise and stretching saw a dramatic reduction in heel and foot pain.
However, the worst thing to do is to ignore your pain, hoping it will go away. In some cases, pain in the feet can be a sign of more serious conditions such as arthritis.
So, getting identification and treatment from podiatrists or doctors is very important and should be your first port of call. Most treatments can be carried out at home without too much fuss and further remedies such as surgery are not necessary, unless you have left the problem for too long.
Painful feet can ruin your life, so seeking treatment as soon as possible is very important. Speak to the right people, rest, exercise and wear the correct shoes and your problems will be on their way to being fixed.