Your feet, specifically your heels, take a lot of strain as you go about your day-to-day activities. Thus, heel pain can be an unfortunately common consequence.
Heel pain isn’t something you should ignore. It’s vital to get checked by a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Let us walk you through what podiatrists do to help you break away from your heel pain worries.
What is a Podiatrist?
Podiatrists, also called foot and ankle doctors, are healthcare professionals specializing in treating foot- and ankle-related conditions. If you are experiencing heel pain, they are the most qualified to diagnose and treat you.
What Are the Causes of Heel Pain?
Heel pain is a common foot affliction characterized by pain or discomfort when walking, running, or jumping. You may experience pain within the heel bone itself, beneath the heel, or behind the heel. To avoid heel pain, some people may walk differently to prevent pressuring the affected heel.
Some risk factors of heel pain include being overweight, having flat feet or high arches, improper footwear, and running or jumping a lot.
It’s important to note that heel pain can be a symptom of other foot conditions. Common causes of heel pain include:
- Inflamed tendons
- Stress fractures
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Bone spurs
- Heel spurs
- Reactive and rheumatoid arthritis
- Haglund’s deformity
- Sever’s disease
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, your podiatrist will create an appropriate treatment plan for you. Some of the conditions listed above only require at-home treatments and non-surgical interventions. On the other hand, surgery may be beneficial if you are experiencing more severe problems that require complex interventions.
Conservative treatment plans are always the first ones recommended by your podiatrist. They don’t require surgery and are often activities you can do at home. Here are some interventions that your podiatrist may suggest:
Apply the RICE Method
This treatment requires that you rest, apply ice and compression to the affected area, and elevate the affected foot at a level above your heart.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Having a lot of excess weight increases the pressure on your legs and feet. Maintaining a healthy weight for your age and body type ensures that you keep unnecessary pressure off your feet. It helps to coordinate with a nutritionist to ensure that you are eating right.
Modify Your Activities
Your heels will experience a lot of force if you engage in high-impact exercises and sports, especially if they involve running and jumping. Your podiatrist, therefore, will recommend that you avoid overly strenuous activities and standing for prolonged periods. They will also teach you heel stretching exercises that will ease tight tendons and muscles.
Wearing improper footwear for the activity that you are carrying out can also strain your heels. It’s best to take the time to choose shoes that support and fit your feet well. For example, if you run or walk on a hard surface such as concrete, choose footwear that has proper cushioning.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with your heel pain and swelling.
If you’ve exhausted conservative foot pain treatments but still experience pain, your podiatrist may suggest any of the following:
Cortisone injections are an anti-inflammatory medication for treating musculoskeletal conditions and may help with your heel pain.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)
This non-invasive treatment involves delivering low shock waves to injured soft tissue, reducing pain and promoting healing.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP therapy encourages the body’s natural healing. PRP injections may also reduce pain and enable your muscles to move more smoothly.
Percutaneous Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation (RFNA)
This treatment involves the use of heat generated by radio waves to target specific nerves. The heat temporarily shuts down your pain receptors.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
This procedure involves the application of red infrared light over an injured site. This treatment reduces inflammation, accelerates tissue healing, and reduces pain in the area.
Podiatrist in West Orange, New Jersey
Several treatment options are available for those experiencing heel pain. If your heel pain is preventing you from living life to the fullest, you might need the help of a podiatrist. As experts in foot and ankle conditions, they are the best people to approach for proper diagnosis and treatment of any and all orthopedic injuries and conditions.
If you’re looking for experienced healthcare for a podiatrist in West Orange, New Jersey, look no further than Hudson MD Group. Our healthcare team will give you the finest care possible from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation.