Has walking become a painful experience due to heel pain? Our Norridge, IL, podiatrist, Dr. Laura Pickard, discusses several causes of the pain and shares treatment options.
As you grow older, the fat pads that help cushion your heels become thinner, causing pain when you walk or stand. Although there is no way to restore thickness to the pads, you can increase your comfort by wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that offer a little extra cushioning. If you usually wear slippers indoors, your feet may feel better if you switch to shoes instead. Orthotics can also be helpful. The prescription shoe inserts reduce pressure on your foot heel and provide extra cushioning.
Plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain, occurs when your plantar fascia becomes inflamed. The fascia is a thick band on tissue on the bottom of your foot that connects your heel to your toes. The condition affects more women than men and is more likely to be a problem if you must stand or walk on hard surfaces for long periods of time or enjoy running. Other risk factors include obesity, flatfoot, high arches, overpronation, and tight calf muscles.
Pain due to plantar fasciitis is often worse in the morning, after you walk or exercise, or when you become active again after sitting for a while. If you only have mild pain, rest and ice may relieve your symptoms. If your pain is severe or interferes with your life, you may benefit from a visit to our Norridge office.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, we may recommend stretching exercises, night splints, orthotics, or cortisone injections. Fortunately, most people who have plantar fasciitis don't need surgery, but it can be the best option in a small percentage of cases.
Inflammation is also the problem if you have Achilles tendinitis. The condition causes pain in the tendon at the back of your heel and may occur if you train too long or too intensely. You may be more likely to develop Achilles tendinitis if you're a runner, stand for long periods or have flat feet or tight calf muscles. Treatment options for this painful condition include cushioning heel cups, walking boots, physical therapy, cortisone injections, ultrasound therapy, or shockwave treatments.
Overcome heel pain with a visit to the foot doctor. Call our Norridge, IL, podiatrist, Dr. Pickard, at (773) 625-2211 to schedule your appointment.