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Strategies for Battling Heel Pain

Heel pain is one of the most common complaints of our patients here at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center. They report that little by little, a small ache in their heel gradually gets worse, spreading to the arch of their foot, and pretty quickly making it very hard to stand or walk. Getting out of bed in the morning and taking their first steps is a ferocious war on their senses – it hurts like crazy!

In the battle against heel pain, resistance is futile. It can hang on for many months – even years – unless you take concrete steps to fight back.

Launch your own counterattack There are several ways you can treat your heel pain – also called plantar fasciitis – at home. You can

  • Stop what you’re doing. If you can figure out a specific activity that caused the heel pain – too much running, for example – give it a rest. This alone can send the enemy packing.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers/inflammation reducers such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Wear a night splint specifically designed to keep the plantar fascia from tightening up while you sleep. You can find these at drug stores and pharmacies.
  • Wear more supportive shoes. Take inventory of the shoes you’re wearing. If flip flops and other open shoes play a large role, ditch them in favor of shoes with good arch support.
  • Lose weight if you need to. Extra pounds put undue stress on the plantar fascia.

Call in the troops When at-home treatment fails, it’s time to consult board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM for reinforcements such as

  • A thorough examination of your foot and ankle to make sure nothing else is going on
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce the inflammation
  • Stronger oral pain medications
  • Stretching exercises that target the plantar fascia
  • A better night splint
  • Physical therapy
  • Custom orthotics

In the worst of cases, plantar fasciitis can get so bad that the plantar fascia actually begins to break down. Surgery can become a viable option. That’s why it’s important to attack heel pain head on. Let us be your partners in the battle. Click here to make an appointment, or give us a call at our Centreville, Virginia office at (703) 996-3000.

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