When Heel Pain Warrants a Visit to a Professional

Heel pain is not something to ignore, especially if it persists and interferes with daily activity and athletics. Heel pain can signal any number of issues, ranging from a minor bruise to a stress fracture. Your foot is a complex structure, and pain in your feet often requires the expertise of a podiatrist, such as our team at Animas Foot & Ankle, for evaluation.

Schedule an immediate appointment if you have severe pain and swelling near your heel. You should also seek immediate care if you can’t rise up on your toes or walk normally, if you have trouble putting weight on the affected foot, if your pain is accompanied by a fever or numbness and tingling, or if you suffered trauma that’s causing your pain.

Chronic heel pain also warrants a visit to our office

Heel pain that persists for more than a few weeks and isn’t responsive to home treatments, such as ice and rest, needs evaluation from our experts. If you notice that heel pain is present even when you’re not using your foot during walking or standing, you’d benefit from a visit to our podiatry staff.

A variety of issues can cause heel pain

The number of issues that can make your heel hurt are numerous, which is why it’s better to see an expert than to self-diagnose.

Common causes are plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the plantar tendon at the bottom of the heel, and Achilles tendinitis, which shows up as microscopic tears that causes pain at the back of the heel. Tarsal tunnel syndrome, a nerve condition that involves a pinched nerve at the back of the foot, may also be to blame.

Other potential causes include a stress fracture, a major bruise, or a heel spur. Bursitis, or joint inflammation, and osteomyelitis, a bone infection, also cause heel pain. If these issues are ruled out, you may be evaluated for specific deformities, bone disease, peripheral neuropathy, and arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis).

A podiatrist can thoroughly evaluate your heel

In addition to considering your medical history, family history, and lifestyle habits, the team at Animas Foot & Ankle evaluates your symptoms and physically examines your heel, calf, ankle, and lower leg, looking for areas of tenderness, bruising, swelling, or deformity. Your gait and range of motion of the foot and ankle are also evaluated.

Your podiatrist may order imaging tests and, more rarely, blood tests, to rule out specific conditions. An X-ray may be ordered if a stress fracture is suspected or an MRI ordered to diagnose soft tissue problems.

We can help you heal your heel

Rest and icing may be appropriate treatments for minor heel issues. In cases of plantar fasciitis or a heel pad bruise, the podiatrists at our office may tape your heel using sports tape. Physical therapy can help to strengthen your foot and ankle and relax tissues surrounding the heel bone.

Your heel pain may warrant a change in footwear — either more appropriate, supportive shoes or a customized insert.

Anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone shots can bring relief from heel pain in some cases, such as inflammation and arthritis. In rare cases, surgery may be a necessity.

Animas Foot & Ankle strives to help men and women in Durango, Colorado, resolve foot and ankle pain and function at their very best. If you have heel pain, or any other issues with your feet, call the office or request an appointment using this website.

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