Could your heel pain be plantar fasciitis?
Did heel pain sneak up on you? You may have noticed pain or stiffness in your heel after a long or intense run. Heel pain is common in athletes and is one of the top reasons people visit our Jackson and Brick, NJ, podiatrists Dr. Keith Rosenthal, and Dr. Julian Sansone. While there are many reasons someone may deal with heel pain, plantar fasciitis is often the most common cause. Here’s what you should know,
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis causes inflammation and even microtears in the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs the length of the foot. This condition usually occurs from overuse, which is why athletes often deal with it. If you find yourself running more regularly or suddenly increasing the intensity of a run, don’t be surprised if you develop plantar fasciitis at some point.
What Are the Warning Signs?
You want to know if your heel pain is plantar fasciitis, right? One telltale sign is that pain originates in the soles of the feet below the heel bone. Pain above the heel bone tells us that it could be your Achilles tendon, not the plantar fascia. You may also notice swelling or stiffness that extends from the heel to the arches of the feet. You may notice symptoms also get worse with inactivity.
How Can I Ease Heel Pain on My Own?
Most of the time, avoiding high-impact activities and giving your feet time to heal will eventually ease your heel pain. Stretching, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can also help control pain and inflammation. You should see an improvement in your symptoms within two or three days.
When Should I Turn to a Podiatrist About My Heel Pain?
Sometimes home care isn’t enough, and it’s important to recognize when it might be time to turn to our Jackson and Brick, NJ, podiatrist. Here are the telltale signs you may need professional care,
- You’ve never had heel pain before, or if you aren’t sure whether your heel pain is due to plantar fasciitis or something else
- You have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet
- Your pain is accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the foot
- There is also severe swelling present
- Your heel pain keeps coming back
- Your pain or other symptoms aren’t improving with at-home care or are getting worse
- You can’t put weight on the foot or have trouble walking
While heel pain should resolve itself over the course of two months with at-home care, if this isn’t the case, then it’s time to talk with our podiatrist.
How Does a Podiatrist Treat Heel Pain?
At-home care might not be enough to treat your heel pain. Luckily, our Jackson and Brick, NJ, podiatrists have the tools, treatment options, and technology to more effectively treat stubborn, chronic, or recurring cases of heel pain. For those whose heel pain didn’t respond to at-home care, you may be instructed to wear a special night splint to keep your feet in a flexed position while you sleep to reduce pain and stiffness in the morning.
If the pain is severe, your podiatrist may recommend wearing a protective boot so you can remain mobile without exacerbating your symptoms. Corticosteroid injections can also reduce severe pain and inflammation. We can also show you a variety of effective stretching exercises that you can perform every day to ease stiffness and sore feet.
Surgery is recommended only in rare instances (when all other treatment options have failed to provide ample relief). During surgery, a foot surgeon will make small incisions into the inflamed ligament or even release the ligament from the heel bone to alleviate tension and pain.
If you are having trouble getting your heel pain under control, our Jackson and Brick, NJ, foot doctor Dr. Rosenthaland Dr. Sansone, and The Center for Foot and Ankle Center team can help. Call us at (732) 833-2800 or (732) 477-0441 to schedule a consultation.