heel pain

Smart move to manage heel pain

Smart move to manage heel pain

Putting pressure on heels becomes painful. Are you wondering what to do? In this instance, you need to consult a doctor if the heel pain discomforts your motion. Compromising with pain could be fatal. So don’t wait, make a smart move to manage heel pain. Know your condition and get immediate medical help before the matter depreciates.

Steps your doctor will take to manage heel pain

Whenever unending foot pain is experienced causing discomfort in stepping, consult an orthopedist as they are experts to handle heel problems in the best possible way. On the first visit, your doctor may question routine activities, medical history, and all other matters that could be a cause of heel pain. Next is the physical examination through which the doctor looks for bruises and cuts if it’s due to heel injury, redness, tenderness, and moving the foot to check a range of motion. Internal evaluation will be made through certain laboratory and imaging tests. X-rays, CT-Scan, and MRIs are ordered for inside imaginary while laboratory tests reveal the presence of any foreign body or infection. To develop the most appropriate heel pain treatment plan all such tests are direly needed.

Considering root cause, treatment includes various medications, therapies, and ultimately surgery if a case doesn’t get better. Intolerable pain and inflammation are relieved through oral administration of drugs i.e. painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines. Therapeutic injections may also be inoculated to the heel for quick pain liberation but this method is seen to cause damage to plantar fascia on repetition so couldn’t be used frequently. Other procedures a doctor takes in are extracorporeal shock wave therapy to promote healing through sound waves directed into the heel area and ultrasonic tissue repair by which damaged tissue is broken and sucked out with the help of a vibrating needle-like tool. As a last resort surgery is marked to grant heel pain relief. Adoption of the surgical method is made by acknowledging the nature of an issue and how crucial the condition is. Surgical procedures include the following options:

  • Plantar fascia release to ease heel bone pain
  • Ligament reconstruction
  • Tendon or bone grafting in case of fracture and sprain
  • Heel fracture repair
  • Heel bone replacement
  • Removal of heel spur

What you can do?

Mutual care is required for successful heel pain relief. The doctor couldn’t help the patient without his or her cooperation. Patients need to follow the guidelines provided and do as per the doctor’s suggestion. What you can do for a quick recovery is RICE. It’s a medical term used by practitioners to refer to rest, icing, compression and elevation. Immobilize and avoid activities that put stress over heels, this imparts complete rest to the affected area. To manage inflammation and swelling, icing probably helps. Compressing the foot with an elastic bandage as instructed by a doctor will provide support and relieve pain. In the initial days elevating the foot could help reduce swelling. Further, you can fight heel problems by taking care of the medicine doses and exercising your foot as instructed. Don’t miss the routine checkups as it helps to measure the improvement.

Common heel problems

Multiple reasons could lead to heel pain and each could be managed accordingly. An orthopedist diagnoses the root cause to address the problem with the most suitable treatment strategy. Here stated a few heel problems that need to be fixed on time.

Achilles tendinitis

The achilles tendon is a strong band of tissues connecting lower leg muscles at the back I.e. calf muscles to the heel bone. An injury to these muscles brings about a condition known as Achilles tendinitis. Stress over Achilles’ tendons during a sport and old age are the chief reason leading to this ailment. Treatment is simple with mild defects but severe tears need surgery for correction. Certain activities like climbing stairs, running and sprinting should be avoided until the condition improves. Symptoms that appear include:

  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • The feeling of being kicked behind the lower leg
  • Inability to put load over toes while standing
  • Swelling and severe heel pain
  • Downward bending of the foot or pushing off the affected leg while walking becomes tough
  • At the instance of damage, a popping sound is heard or felt

Bone tumor

A bone tumor is an unusual growth of cells that may be cancerous or non-cancerous. It’s a rare case to foot however may originate in a foot instigating heel bone pain. As its growth weakens bones so fracture due to slight injury becomes obvious. Foot bones become painful especially at night when the body is at rest. Swelling appears with a mass in the affected area. Diagnosis is made through x-ray and later on through MRI for a more detailed internal evaluation. The only remedy is the surgical removal of a cancerous mass and under crucial circumstances, foot amputation may be employed to prevent its further dispersal.

Foot bursitis

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs between muscles and bones near joints. They act as a cushion preventing bone and muscles deterioration due to friction. Bursitis is a condition that develops because of inflammation ofthe bursae. Repetitive action putting stress over bursae becomes the reason for painful heels. Giving good rest to feet and avoiding activities causing this trauma brings in improvement but it’s a recurrent matter which may flare up after intervals. Patients with bursitis complain about foot aches, stiffness in the area, pinching pain when inflamed bursae are pressed, and swelling, and redness over the affected zone.

Haglund’s deformity

Haglund’s deformity counted among the heel problems associated with the heel bone. It’s a foot abnormality befall as a result of heel bone enlargement. Soft tissues behind the heel are irritated as they rub against the hard shoe surface. The basic cause is unknown but mostly encountered in people with high foot arch. Other reasons may include over practicing in runners, tight or ill-fitting footwear, biomechanics of joints, and inheritance. Tenderness, redness, swelling, warmth, and bump are some of the visible signs a patient develops. The condition could be made better through physiotherapy, oral medications, or injecting steroids but in incurable state excision through surgery is a wise decision.

Heel spur

Another reason for painful heels is heel spur which itself does not hurt but the tissue tear because of its presence cause discomfort and pain. We can refer to it as a bony protrusion developing beneath the heel bone due to the gradual deposition of calcium. A heel spur is not visible until an x-ray is taken inquiring about some other reasons for heel pain. It is often reported as the triggering element for plantar fasciitis. Knife sticking pain is the symptom that occurs on the first early morning standup which dulls as feet are in working mode and reoccur on standing after a long period of rest. Causes linked to this ailment are numerous few of which include:

  • Stress on foot muscles
  • Plantar fascia stretching
  • Repetitive tears to heel bone membrane
  • Abnormal tread that puts stress over foot ligaments and muscles
  • Running, jogging or jumping much frequently
  • Wearing uncomfortable shoes
  • Obesity

Heel pain treatment could be made through conventional methods under mild conditions. Stretching exercises, wearing comfortable shoes, use of devices like orthotic or night splints, physical therapy, and strapping to limit motion could help through this issue. Pain can be managed using anti-inflammatory drugs and incorporating steroid injections. If the condition improves it is well and good but in severe cases, plantar fascia release and removal of spur through the surgery is encouraged.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection ripened because of blood infection, or contamination through a cut while a heel injury or a surgical procedure. Direct or indirect bone contamination leads to this disease. Patients experience fever, swelling, warmth or redness over the infected area, and pain. In rare cases, it doesn’t show any signs or symptoms that are tough to differentiate from other issues. Strong antibiotics are injected to cure the infection and in worse conditions, surgery is commenced to drain pus cells or expunge dead bone and tissues. Amputation is made when the bone is dead and there’s a threat of infection progressing further affecting other body parts.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a strong band of tissues (plantar fascia) beneath the foot connecting the heel bone to the toes. Repeated stress or stretch over plantar fascia results in tear or rupture which becomes a reason for heel pain. Stabbing pain is experienced with this ailment that occurs when the patient takes the first step in the morning. With constant movement pain may disappear or decrease but return when walking after a long period of rest or standing. Runners and athletes are more prone to get plantar fascia ruptures. Also, people wearing uncomfortable shoes and those with overweight are at stake of having plantar fasciitis.

Medication is provided to relieve pain through oral administration or injections. Physical therapy helps to strengthen and repair plantar fascia naturally however if things don’t improve surgery is recommended to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. This eases the pain and treading become easy.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Inside the ankle and near the ankle bone lies a space which is termed as a tarsal tunnel. This space is protected by a band of thick ligaments that secures nerves, arteries and tendons inside the tunnel. The tibial nerve passes through this tunnel which may compress due to repeated stress or compression initiating tarsal tunnel syndrome. A person with flat feet, having varicose veins, a cyst, swollen tendon or bone spur is much more likely to develop this syndrome. Moreover, an injury to the ankle, diseases like arthritis and diabetes also become a reason to nerve compression.

Symptoms are usually experienced inside the ankle with burning sensation, numbness and shooting pain. Some patients feel pain at one spot while others may have a painful heel, toes, or foot arch. Symptoms may appear suddenly or aggravate through overuse of feet like standing, walking or exercising for long period putting stress over the foot. Immediate treatment help to get better soon whereas ignorance could lead to permanent nerve damage. Symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome are often confused with other heel problems so it needs to be diagnosed rightly for proper treatment.

Stress fractures

Cracking of heel bone occurs with a repetitive force like Jumping, running or walking for long periods. People who overuse the foot bones may be subject to a stress fracture. Heels are much susceptible to this kind of fracture as they bear body weight the most. Patients with osteoporosis should be careful in putting stress over heels as their bones get weak due to disease which may become a reason for heel fracture.Sportsmen and people carrying heavyweights to long distances like military recruits are at high risk of accomplishing stress fracture.

Pain is scarcely observed initially but it gets worse with every passing moment. Symptoms may disappear with rest but appear with reuse. Swelling and pain develop in and around the affected area. Imaging tests help to reveal heel bone fracture. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines aid in reducing pain. An orthopedist immobilizes the joint with support like a brace or boot. Healing is a natural process but in cases where healing doesn’t take place, surgery becomes a necessity. A bone graft is secured at the fracture site to promote healing.

Foot arthritis

It’s an inflammatory joint disease that makes joints stiff, tender to touch and painful. Arthritic foot improves with rest but symptoms couldn’t vanish permanently. Medicines and physical exercises are the best way to relieve pain. The root cause is unknown but in most cases, it is found to be inherited.

 

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following some useful tips could improve heel problems. A little self-care like wearing supportive and comfortable shoes, exercising to strengthen muscles, providing good rest to feet and managing healthy body weight will show better results. Further, devices like orthotics or night splints can be used on the doctor’s recommendation to stretch the plantar fascia.

 

 

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