Every year, 2 million Americans visit their doctor due to heel pain. This common condition can occur as a result of plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, or stress fractures. At Universal Footcare in Chelsea, Manhattan, board-certified podiatrist Neha Pathak, DPM, treats heel pain using conservative measures of care. To schedule an appointment at the New York City-based practice, call the office or book online today.
Heel pain refers to any swelling, irritation, or general discomfort that affects the heel –– the largest bone in your foot –– and surrounding soft tissues.
Heel pain is different for everyone. In some cases, it’s dull and responds to conservative treatments. Other times, it’s severe and results in mobility issues.
If you experience heel pain that lasts for two or more weeks, it’s important to seek treatment from a qualified podiatrist.
Heel pain occurs for a variety of reasons, including:
You might also experience heel pain from reactive arthritis. Reactive arthritis occurs due to an infection in another part of your body.
There’s no way to prevent heel pain entirely, but there are steps you can take to significantly lower your risk. Dr. Pathak recommends:
You should also listen to your body. If you feel tired or your muscles are sore, don’t wait to take a break. Sometimes your body needs time to rest and rejuvenate.
To diagnose heel pain, Dr. Pathak reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, including what your exercise routine is like, when you first started to notice the pain, and the pain’s impact on your daily activities.
Afterward, she carefully examines your feet and ankles. During the exam, Dr. Pathak gently presses on your heel looking for areas of tenderness, redness, and warmth. She also has you stand up, sit down, and walk around the exam room to observe your gait and posture.
Next, Dr. Pathak orders X-rays or an MRI. These diagnostic imaging procedures provide detailed pictures of the bones, joints, and soft tissues in your feet and heels.
Whenever possible, Dr. Pathak uses conservative, noninvasive treatments to relieve heel pain. If you have mild or moderate heel pain, you might benefit from rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE protocol), taking over-the-counter pain medication, or wearing more comfortable, supportive shoes.
If your heel pain persists, Dr. Pathak might recommend physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or wearing custom orthotics. You can purchase orthotics in the office following your appointment. If your pain is due to a fracture or tears in the plantar fascia, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Don’t let heel pain keep you sidelined. Schedule an appointment at Universal Footcare today by calling the office or booking online.