Heel pain is not uncommon and it can make it difficult to attend to your everyday tasks. It is important that you know the cause and the treatments that can help. Your doctor will help you to determine which treatments are the best choices for you.
You can find relief from your symptoms with several therapy options. Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe exercises to strengthen and stretch the soft tissues in your heel, ankle, foot and lower leg. Other therapies might include:
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you to develop the right exercise techniques to alleviate the source of your pain. They can also help you with taping so that your heel is properly supported.
- Orthotics: These help to support your heel and maintain your arch. Heel cups or cushions are common.
- Night splints: These keep your foot and calf muscle stretched as you sleep. It helps with the heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
There are two primary medications used to treat heel pain, including acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Acetaminophen will only alleviate the associated pain. NSAIDs work to reduce inflammation and pain. Your healthcare provider will help you to determine which medication is best for you.
There are times when therapies and medications are not enough to alleviate the pain. In these instances, there are treatments that your healthcare provider can do to help reduce the pain. These advanced treatment options include:
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: This treatment involves using shockwaves directed at the heel to reduce pain and encourage heeling. This is typically used on those who have a chronic form of plantar fasciitis.
- Steroid shots: These shots are administered right into the tender point on the heel. They are a temporary means of pain relief and they are not something that can be done often because frequent injections can shrink the pad of fat that covers the heel bone.
- Surgery: In the most severe of cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem that is causing your heel pain.
If your heel pain lasts more than 48 hours, you should consult your healthcare provider. It is important to have an accurate diagnosis so that you can get the right treatment. Diagnosis is typically a quick and easy process so that you can get on the road to recovery.