It's impossible to ignore heel pain when every step you take is so uncomfortable. Fortunately, Dr. Mukesh Bhakta, your Gainesville, VA, podiatrist at Prince William Foot & Ankle Center offers treatments that can improve your painful symptoms.
Why Do My Heels Hurt?
Heel pain can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Worn-Out Shoes: Do you remember the last time you replaced your running or walking shoes? After months of use, the cushioning layer inside shoes becomes compressed. Although the shoes may look perfectly fine, they no longer support your foot adequately. As a result, you may develop a stone bruise in the fat pad under your heel bone, Achilles tendinitis (inflammation of the long tendon at the back of your heel), or retrocalcaneal bursitis (inflammation of the cushioning sac under the tendon).
- Plantar Fascia Inflammation: Is your heel pain worse first thing in the morning or when you stand after sitting for a while? If so, there's a strong possibility that you have plantar fasciitis. The condition occurs when the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. You may be at increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis if you are overweight, spend long hours on your feet, are over age 40, are a runner, wear poorly fitting shoes, or have flat feet or high arches.
- Bone Spurs: Bone spurs can happen to anyone, but are particularly common after you've had plantar fasciitis. In addition to pain, swelling over your heel may also occur. In some cases, it may be possible to feel a bony bump on your heel. You may be at increased risk of developing a bone spur if you have arthritis, are overweight, have diabetes, spend long periods on your feet, run or walk on hard surfaces, or have a gait abnormality that stresses your heel.
How Can My Gainesville Foot Doctor Help?
Your podiatrist offers a variety of treatment strategies that will ease your pain. Most stone bruises go away on their own, but they will return if you continue to exercise in worn-out shoes. In addition to buying new shoes, you may benefit from orthotics, custom-designed shoe inserts that cushion your feet and keep them properly aligned in your shoes.
Other possible treatments, depending on your diagnosis, may include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, orthotics or heel cups, and night splints (for plantar fasciitis.) If you have Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis, you may benefit from shockwave therapy. The treatments send shock waves deep into your tissues to trigger your body's natural healing abilities.
Get back on your feet with a trip to the foot doctor! Call Dr. Mukesh Bhakta, your Gainesville, VA, podiatrist at Prince William Foot & Ankle Center at (703) 753-3338 to schedule an appointment.