Heel Pain Treatment and Prevention
As we noted earlier, the good news when it comes to these various conditions is that they are often successfully resolved with the use of conservative (nonsurgical) treatment. There are many different options and methods we may use when creating our unique treatment plan specifically for you. Some of the components include rest, ice, medication, stretches, physical therapy, footwear changes, orthotic devices, and corticosteroid injections.
We are also proud to offer advanced shockwave therapy as a treatment option for heel pain caused by soft tissue injury.
(Don’t worry, the “shock” in “shockwave” is not electrical!)
In shockwave therapy, a small machine in our office generates ballistic soundwaves that are able to penetrate deep into tissues and accelerate a natural, powerful healing response by your body. When the waves reach the cells at the site of injury, it causes the cells to release biochemicals to build new blood vessels that flood the area with nutrients and oxygen so the damaged tissues can be regenerated.
Naturally, the best form of treatment is to prevent a condition from developing in the first place. The good news is that most of the common causes of heel pain are fairly preventable. Measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing heel pain include:
- Wearing proper footwear. Make sure you have the right shoes for the sports and exercises you do. More than simply “wearing running shoes if you run often,” always pick footwear that fits correctly, has a solid construction, and provides ample cushioning and arch support. Beyond footwear for physical activities, limit the amount of time you spend wearing high-heeled shoes. Pumps and stilettos may look cute, but they cause excessive strain on the connective tissues in your feet and lower legs. If you wear these kinds of shoes for work, consider wearing more-sensible models on your commute to and from the office.
- Easing into physical activity. When starting a new running or exercise program, give your body time to adjust to the increased forces you’re placing on it. To keep your feet and ankles safe, start any new workout program at an easy level and then slowly ramp up your intensity and duration over time. A good target is a roughly 10% increase per week. Doing more will increase your injury risk.
- Stretching. Before any individual workout session or athletic activity, take about 5-10 minutes for a proper warmup, followed by some dynamic stretches targeting the muscles you are going to use. This is a smart approach to prepare your body for the activity you are about to perform. There are many injuries that could be prevented by warming up and stretching first.
- Cross-training. Instead of running six days a week or only relying on high-impact sports like basketball or tennis for fitness, mix in a couple of sessions of yoga, cycling, swimming, or walking to reduce the total amount of physical stress on your feet and heels.