Are standing, walking or running difficult due to heel pain? South Burlington, VT, podiatrist Dr. Michael Guerra discusses several common causes of heel pain and explains how it's treated.
Heel pain causes
Heel pain can occur due to:
- Fractures: Jumping from high places, falls and car accidents can fracture your heel. You probably won't be able to put any weight on your foot and will notice swelling and bruising on your heel and ankle if your heel is fractured.
- Calluses: Calluses are hard layers of skin that form in an attempt to protect your skin from irritation. Heel calluses can may walking and standing painful and may form if your shoes rub against your heel or don't fit well.
- Stress Fractures: Did your heel pain occur after you began exercising harder or longer than usual? You may have a stress fracture, a thin crack in the bone that is a result of an overuse injury.
- Stone Bruise: Stepping on a rock or hard object or wearing shoes that don't offer enough cushioning can cause a bruise in the fat pad at the bottom of your heel.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation in the plantar fascia that runs under your foot can cause foot pain. The condition is more likely to occur if you're overweight, have flat feet, stand on your feet for long periods or participate in activities that stress the heel.
- Achilles Tendon Problems: Achilles tendinitis causes heel pain due to inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of your heel. If you don't rest your heel after noticing pain and continue your usual activities, the tendon can tear partially or completely. An Achilles tendon rupture can also occur while you're playing sports or if you happen to unexpectedly step on an uneven surface.
What can I do about heel pain?
The RICE method of treating injuries can be very helpful in treating heel injuries. The method involves resting your heel, icing it, wrapping it with a compression bandage and keeping it elevated as much as possible. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories will also help decrease pain and inflammation.
If your heel doesn't start to feel better in a week or two, you have severe pain, or you suspect you have a serious injury, make an appointment with our South Burlington office. Depending on the cause and severity of your condition, we can recommend a variety of treatment approaches, including walking boots, crutches, heel cups, physical therapy, and shockwave treatments.
What are shockwave treatments?
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (EWST) is a treatment where pressure waves are focused specifically on the injured area to stimulate metabolism and blood circulation. There are many different benefits to this treatment, such as:
- No down time
- No anesthesia
- No risk of infection
- Improved outcomes
Treating your heel pain promptly will help you avoid long-term consequences. Call South Burlington, VT, podiatrist Dr. Michael Guerra at (802) 862-8666 to schedule your appointment.