Relieving Heel Pain – What You (and We) Need to Know
If we had a special medicine that could treat every case of heel pain in existence, we would certainly use it. Considering how many people have heel pain in the world, we’d be foolish not to!
Unfortunately, there is no one such medicine or treatment, and the reason for that is simple: there are many different possible causes of heel pain.
It’s not that heel pain is impossible to treat. Far from it! The vast majority of heel pain cases can be successfully treated within several months using conservative methods.
The key, however, is properly identifying not only the problem causing the pain, but the underlying factors that are contributing to it.
Our job is to get to the root of your heel pain and recommend the best course of treatment. To do so requires both a comprehensive examination of your condition, but also learning more about how your heel pain is affecting your life.
There is a good amount of information you can provide that can aid us in our diagnosis and recommendations. We even have a small heel pain quiz you can take to help determine what might be at the source of your problem!
Take Our Heel Pain Quiz
The heel pain quiz on our website is a simple test that can help narrow down the likely source of your discomfort. It only takes a minute or two, and you can find it by clicking below.
For each part of the test, you will be shown two images pointing to certain areas of your foot. Simply click on which area you tend to feel pain in more, or select “Neither one” if neither apply to your situation.
At the end of the quiz, you will receive a result identifying which form of heel pain is the most likely culprit. Please keep in mind that this is not a 100% guaranteed result (no quizzes on the internet ever hit it right every time), but we certainly want to know what you received!
The quiz might also show you something you might not have considered before.
“Heel Pain” Can Happen in Many Places
What we consider “heel pain” is not limited to one exact spot on the foot, but can occur in many different areas. Some may be closer toward the arch, some might be directly beneath the heel, and still others may even be around the back or just above the heel.
This is because the heel bone itself (i.e. the calcaneus) is not the only potential player in cases of heel pain. There are soft tissues that connect to it, as well as other surrounding structures. The precise location where your heel pain is focused can give us a valuable clue about the diagnosis. For example:
- Pain in the underside of the foot, toward the heel can often be an indicator of Plantar Fasciitis, a condition in which the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone all the way to the base of the toes becomes overstressed or aggravated.
- Pain in the back of the heel may be more indicative of Achilles Tendinitis, a condition in which the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the heel bone becomes overstrained. How high the pain is present on the back of the heel can even help determine which type of Achilles tendinitis it is.
Other locations might help us determine whether the pain is based on nerve entrapment or is related to other parts of the foot, such as the bursae.
When It Hurts Matters, Too
The triggers for heel pain can also tell us a lot about what might be causing it.
If your pain is worst as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning, or after you start moving following a long period of inactivity, that tends to be a good indication of plantar fasciitis. Try gently stretching your feet for a few minutes before getting out of bed and see if that has an effect on your discomfort (and let us know if it does!).
Pain that happens during or after activity should also be noted as thoroughly as possible. These could be signs of Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, Sever’s disease (in adolescent children), or other conditions. Does the pain mainly occur:
- During activity itself, but not in a way that inhibits you
- During activity itself, in a way that does inhibit your performance
- After activity
- Both during and after activity, without much difference between the two
Other Heel Pain Clues We’d Like to Know
The more we know about your heel pain, your activities, and your lifestyle, the better. Other items that can be helpful include:
- Bringing in a well-used pair of shoes. We can examine the tread to determine whether you have any abnormalities in your gait and/or foot structure.
- Knowing what your work environment is like. Do you spend a lot of time standing or moving about? Do you work on hard surfaces? Do you spend most of your time sitting?
- Have you lost or gained a lot of weight recently? Either could be linked to increased heel pain.
This does not exhaust the list. If there is anything else you think is worth mentioning that we do not ask about at an appointment, please do not hesitate to bring it up!
Finding Your Path to Heel Pain Relief
We have a wide range of treatment options for heel pain, ranging from traditional methods to more advanced treatments such as PRP therapy or custom-made orthotics. The truth is, a combination of approaches may be necessary to treat the particulars of each of our patients’ cases, and once we fully understand your situation, we can make the best recommendations to suit your personal needs.
Call us at (480) 629-5903 to schedule an appointment. If you prefer to discuss your situation with us over telemedicine first, please let our front desk know. We will be happy to accommodate you as best as possible.