Our feet can take a lot of abuse, but remember, foot pain is not normal. Healthy pain free feet can be the key to independent living. Did you know that in a lifetime the average person puts over 75,000 miles on their feet getting from here to there? You can’t do that if you are dealing with heel or ankle pain.
Heel pain is a very common foot problem. In fact almost 40% of Americans say they have experienced some form of heel pain over the last year. Heel pain is usually the result of putting too much stress or force on the bones, ligaments, and nerves in and around the heel. This can be from running, or jumping on hard surfaces, or wearing poorly fitted, or worn-out shoes.
People who are overweight also tend to experience heel pain, as they put additional stress on their heels.
Can Foot Pain Be the Sign of a Serious Medical Condition?
Some medical conditions such as arthritis or gout can also cause heel pain. Heel spurs are a specific condition responsible for heel pain. Heel spurs are hard growths that develop on the bones of the heel in response to inflammation.
How Is Foot Pain Treated?
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, treatments can range from the use of custom-made orthotics to anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections.
Ankle pain is also a very common foot ailment. Ankle pain can occur along with heel pain, or can be experienced alone. Other than from an obvious injury such as a sprain or a strain, ankle pain could be caused by a common condition known as tendonitis.
Achilles tendonitis is an irritation or inflammation of the large tendon on the back of the foot that allows your ankle to flex. If you are a runner, you can prevent or minimize tendonitis by stretching regularly, or using shoe inserts such as heel cups or arch supports.
Treatment for tendonitis may include the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, resting the affected limb, or your podiatrist may recommend immobilization with a walking boot in the most severe cases.
Arthritis can also be a source of ankle pain, as can tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is a condition in the foot similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand.
Fortunately, when detected early, your podiatrist can easily and successfully treat most heel and ankle pain.
However, prevention is still the best way to deal with heel or ankle pain.
To avoid most heel and ankle pain:
- Always wear well-fitting, and not overly worn-out shoes.
- Wear the proper shoes for every activity.
- Stretch before running or other foot intensive workout or sports activities.
Your feet carry you from here to there every day, but, most of us take them for granted until they hurt. And when they do, you want relief. To get the right treatment, you need to understand the problem – and now you do!