Although several underlying conditions can cause heel pain, most times, it can be resolved without surgery. Often, changing a few habits can help.
Dr. Laura Schweger and Dr. Evan Ross at Optima Foot and Ankle, located in Bend, Oregon, treat numerous people with heel pain. Often, those patients can overcome their heel pain by changing a few habits and developing some new ones. If addressing habits doesn’t resolve your pain, we can develop a different treatment program.
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, where the thick, strong connective tissue on the bottom of your foot — your plantar fascia — becomes inflamed, incurs small tears, or is overstretched. Overuse, high-impact sports that involve running and jumping, or standing on hard surfaces for many hours are frequent contributors to plantar fasciitis.
Other potential causes of heel pain include a bruise on the padding of your heel, a stress fracture, and heel spurs. Each of these underlying causes can cause pain, but in different areas on your heel and at different times. For example, a stress fracture may hurt when you’re standing or walking and ease when you’re at rest.
In some ways, heel pain is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that it can usually be resolved with conservative treatments, so you probably won’t need medication or surgery. The bad news is that you may need to make some lifestyle changes.
Below, you’ll find some of the most common bad habits that lead to heel pain.
High heels place unnecessary pressure on your feet and put them in an unnatural position. We understand the desire to be fashionable, but you may need to change your fashion focus if you’re experiencing heel pain.
Shoes with a heel of no more than one inch are much easier on your feet, ankles, and even your back. Look for flats, wedges, or kitten heels to complete your look. If you must wear high heels, limit the time you’re wearing them, choose the lowest possible heel, and try to sit more than you stand.
If you’re experiencing weight struggles, the likelihood of heel pain is higher. Extra weight puts additional pressure on your feet, adding to their already heavy workload.
Making incremental changes to your diet and slowly adding exercise to your routine should help you lose some weight and get some relief from heel pain.
If you’re a runner, you need to invest in good running shoes, and if you play basketball, you need shoes designed for that activity. Hikers should wear sturdy hiking boots, and walkers should choose appropriate shoes for walking, and so on. If you’re not sure what kind of shoes are best for your chosen activity, talk to our staff.
If you have heel pain, you need to stretch the muscles and supportive structures in your lower legs, ankles, and feet. We can show you the best stretches for you depending on the cause of your heel pain, your lifestyle, and other factors.
We always recommend making an appointment if you have pain in your feet. Understanding the cause of your heel pain can help you know what habits you need to change. We can also recommend the right exercises and additional treatments if necessary. Call our office or book your visit online.