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When Is It Time to Talk with a Podiatrist about Heel Pain?

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Experiencing heel pain can quickly turn into a host of other problems, as issues with the range and smoothness of your gait can translate to trouble with your ankles, knees, and lower back. Not everyone is thrilled to visit a podiatry practice, but it's a good idea to learn when it might be time to stop toughing it out and ask for a professional's opinion.

Dealing with Heel Pain

Long before you go to a doctor, you'll want to treat the immediate effects of heel pain. If you're feeling pain all day from walking or for more than 20 minutes after walking, the first order of business is to ice the injured area for about 15 minutes.

Should you have an obvious reason for experiencing heel pain, such as a change in your walking or running routine, you might want to see how long it takes for your body to adjust. You should, if possible, try to dial your routine down to a point that the pain is diminished. It may be impossible to adjust your routine, like if you're dealing with work responsibilities, and in those circumstances, you should talk immediately with a podiatry specialist. Pushing the issue can lead to problems like plantar fasciitis, a disorder that results from a tendon becoming inflamed and overstretched.

Pain Is Sudden or Unexplainable

In cases where significant pain suddenly sets in or erupts for no clear reason, you may want to set up an appointment with a professional. This is particularly wise if the pain doesn't subside within 20 minutes or so even if you ice the area.

How Doctors Approach Heel Pain

The primary question a doctor will want to clear up right away is whether the heel pain you're experiencing arises from repetitive stress or something being damaged. X-rays will be performed to verify that there aren't any fractures, fissures, or deformities in the foot.

Most practitioners will start with trying to adjust lifestyle choices that patients make. This can include looking into new types of footwear to provide more support for the heel, and it may also include an exercise regimen aimed at strengthening the surrounding muscles and taking stress off tendons and ligaments in the foot. Anti-inflammatory medication might also be prescribed in order to improve comfort and get the most immediate problems under control. In extreme cases, the doctor may propose bed rest or schedule surgery. 

Contact a podiatry office like Collier Podiatry PA for more information.