Heel pain often occurs when you push your feet past their limits, and in many cases what begins as mild pain can turn into a disabling chronic condition. At her practice in Houston, Tomball, Cleveland, Texas, foot and ankle specialist Lauren Reed, DPM, diagnoses and treats conditions that cause heel pain, including plantar fasciitis and stress fractures. To get help for your heel pain, call or schedule an appointment online today.
Heel pain usually occurs in the bottom or back of your heel as a result of injuries or overuse. Common conditions that cause heel pain include:
This condition is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis results from placing too much pressure on your feet, so it commonly affects distance runners and people having to stand for hours on end while working.
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone that results from overuse. The definition of “overuse” depends on the person, so there’s no set amount of stress that will cause a stress fracture. Rather, stress fractures are likely to happen when you put much more pressure on your feet than you’re used to or can handle.
The Achilles tendon connects your calf to your heel bone and helps you raise your heel off the ground when you walk or run. Achilles tendinitis is often an overuse injury.
Dr. Reed performs a physical exam to determine the exact cause of your heel pain during your consultation.
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, though not the only one. To determine whether your heel pain comes from plantar fasciitis, Dr. Reed examines your affected foot to locate the pain. She also asks specific questions about your pain, including whether it’s worse when you first get out of bed or after physical activity.
If Dr. Reed does not discover plantar fasciitis, she may order an MRI or X-ray to determine if you have a stress fracture or other condition.
How Dr. Reed treats your heel pain depends on its cause. If you have plantar fasciitis or another form of inflammation, she may recommend a combination of pain medications and self-care strategies that help you control the pain, avoid putting further stress on your heel, and prevent future injuries.
You may need to change the way you exercise, such as mixing running with other activities that put less pressure on your foot, or by increasing the intensity of your exercise more gradually. Dr. Reed may also teach you stretches that target the affected tissue to improve your flexibility and protect you from a recurring condition.
If a stress fracture is causing your heel pain, you may need to wear a walking boot or use crutches to get around and avoid putting any pressure on your foot to allow it time to heal. Dr. Reed will advise you on safely returning to your usual activities.
If heel pain is interfering with your everyday life, call Lauren Reed, DPM, or schedule an appointment online today.