If you can just imagine the pounding and stress that your feet take on a daily basis, one would only wonder why they have not jumped shipped and decided to run away! The human foot contains 26 bones, 28 if you want to distinguish the ball of the foot. That’s almost 25% of the bones in our entire body. Along with those bones at muscles, ligaments and thirty-three joints! All of these tissues function together to help us get up, run, jump, step, skip, react and even protect. The engineering of the foot is truly a marvel and and art form when it is functioning in concert. When this system is not functioning properly it can feel like a nightmare on two feet. These movements can be physically as well as mentally debilitating.
Donald Harrison, DPM, a doctor or podiatric surgery and sports medicine specialist in private practice in Glen Burnie, MD, discusses heel pain and what you can do to avoid it and keep your feet at their peak performance level.
The most common compliant inside and outside of the office is heel pain. The issue typically is centered around the the bottom of the heel or the backside of the heel bone. Most people say that the pain and discomfort does not completely subside with use ice or rest. It may get better temporarily that seems to always resurface. The first thing to do when dealing with stubborn pain in your heel is to figure out the true cause of the pain. Says Dr. Harrison, what belies the pain is one of several potential issues. These can be, but are not limited to:
- Congenital foot problems
- A Recent injury
- Bone fracture
- Diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis
- Muscle stiffness
- Improper fitting shoes
- Joint subluxation
- Subconscious gait compensation
- Overuse injury
The majority of the time, Heel pain is short-term and can be handled with a little home-care and use of some over-the-counter devices. Some of these home remedies include icing, massaging, changing shoe gear, use of anti-inflammatories, use of over-the-counter foot inserts and decreasing the amount of time on your feet.
If the pain does not completely subside in a matter of a couple of weeks, it’s in your best interest to see if a podiatrist in order to get an accurate diagnosis and prevent the heel pain from worsening. Typically, you will get an X-ray and overall lower extremity analysis to detect the true cause of your heel pain. You maybe asked to walk without shoes on, perform activities on one foot or even jump while in the doctors office. All of these activities, plus more, help to determine not only why you have pain but also how to solve the issue. Also your shoe gear is normally inspected for signs of where and fatigue. So make sure you bring your most commonly worn pair shoes with you to the office!
Additionally, your podiatrist made talk about other tangible factors such as the amount of time spent on your feet, your exercise routine, any increase or decrease in weight, and even your foot type. If you are an athlete, then next to questions concerning your athletic activity will be very important in accurately diagnosing your foot pain cause.
Once in appropriate diagnoses and the reason for your heel pain has been identified, a more accurate and precise treatment plan can be given to you. For most individuals, nonsurgical options do the trick and solve the problem. For a small group of individuals, a conservative treatment plan is not enough in surgery may be needed.
Once a cause has been identified, treatment can include resting from activities that cause or aggravate the pain, different shoes, orthotics and stretching exercises, such as massaging your arch, rolling your foot over a tennis ball or a frozen water bottle, or stretching your calf muscles. Sometimes, when these treatments fail, surgery may be needed, but most people recover from foot pain without surgery. Thankfully, there are many options that can have you up on your feet in a very short amount of time.
It is recommended that you see your podiatrist at least once per year to get a check up and to prevent any issues from occurring. One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is to treat our feet very well. They take a lot of pounding and a lot of beating and deserve some tender loving care.
To learn more about Dr. Donald Harrison, visit WWW.DonaldHarrisonDPM.com, or make an appointment by calling 410–768–0074.