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When your feet hurt it can severely restrict your mobility and can quite often leave you home-bound and unable to perform your daily routine. The feet bear all the weight of a person, and one of the most vulnerable parts of the feet are the heels which take most of the weight. Finding relief for this pain is critical to a faster recovery. But what is the best treatment for heel pain?. This is what we aim to discuss today.
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What Causes Pain In The Heels
Prolonged standing or activities that place a strain on the feet are almost sure to lead to pain in the heels. The pain in heels rarely appears immediately, but when it is subjected to the constant weight of the body, and also has to perform other strenuous activities, it is almost certain to lead to the discomfort of pain.
Activities that directly impact the feet often result in heel pain and is a sign that the feet are no longer able to take the strain that is being imposed on them by certain activities. These are activities like prolonged standing and is especially felt by women who wear heels that requires them to constantly balance themselves.
Standing places a lot of stress on the arch of the feet and this leads to plantar fasciitis. It causes the tissue forming the arch to swell and is often the most common cause of heel pain. About 50% of the time Plantar fasciitis is the reason for heel pain. However, many people instantly diagnose their foot pain as plantar fasciitis when in fact it could be something else. Excessive weight and obesity can also lead to heel pain, especially if such people are required to be constantly on the move.
They can lessen this by learning how to walk properly and adopting the proper stance. When a person carries a lot of weight, every step causes added stress on the foot. Heel pain can also come from heel spurs which are bony growths that develop on the underside of the bone of the heel. Wrong fitting shoes or footwear that does not support the feet properly can cause these spurs, especially for people who are into running and jogging and is a result of long-term plantar fasciitis.
Long Term Treatment For Heel Pain
How then do you treat heel pain? Make sure that you have the optimum weight that is ideal for your weight and builds, and there are chances that you will not have heel pain. If your BMI is over 25, you must look to first reduce your weight, so that you are less susceptible to heel pain. Of course, make sure that this BMI does not fall below 18, as this can lead to other health problems.
Proper dieting coupled with the right exercise can help you to lose weight and achieve the right BMI. The exercise itself can help to strengthen your feet and its muscles and this can also help you to get rid of the heel pain. Weight control is one of the most effective treatments for heel pain.
Treatments for heel pain can be non-surgical, and in extreme case may need surgical intervention. The best persons to treat heel pain are podiatrists who are specialists in this area and will examine the painful area through physical examination and X rays and reach a proper diagnosis of the conditions that are leading to the pain. Often the diagnosis leads to simple orthotic devices like inserts in shoes that can help to correct the foot posture and thus reduce the constant recurrence of the conditions that are causing the heel pain. These devices help in the support of the feet and keep the foot in good shape. In rare cases, where the heel spurs have developed too much or when the plantar fasciitis needs to be released, surgical intervention may them become necessary.
Does Massaging The Foot Help With Heel Pain
Massage can help heel pain by stretching the plantar fasciitis. What massage does is stimulates the foot and allows blood to flow to the painful areas. The increased blood flow brings added oxygen and the bodies natural healing nutrients. So pain relief can be obtained quicker. If you don’t have a partner or wish to self massage your feet, there are tools in which you can obtain a good thorough massage from home.
The classic foot massaging devices are certainly an option. Over the years, technology has advanced and so have the foot massagers. These days you can get a pretty close to life like massage from a machine and from the comfort of your own home.
The best kinds of devices are the infrared foot massaging machines. This is because they utilize the power of infrared to offer greater health benefits. Infrared is an invisible heat source that is naturally found from the Sun. This is not UV rays that can cause health problems, but from the other end of the suns color spectrum. So you don’t actually feel the heat so much, but the benefit lays in the fact infrared energy can penetrate to about 2 inches deep beneath the skin. Which heats up the core body temperature which then increases blood flow and oxygen. Proving your feet with a great circulation of healing nutrients to start numbing away at heel pain.
Other Heel & Foot Massaging Tools
If a foot massaging device is too intense for you, there are other tools available. In particular reflexology tools. As these tools apply pressure to the trigger points in your feet to bring relief from pain and stress.
My personal favorite reflexology tool for the plantar fasciitus is this 3 in one foot rolling kit. The reason I like this kit is because it offers the solution to many feet problems and is quite convenient to carry around.
The kit comes with a spikey ball which you gentle roll under your foot to increase blood flow to the plantar fasciitus. Once you have done that, use the included massaging foot roller which has massaging nodes. This feels heavenly. Lastly you then grab the soft ball that’s been in the freezer and apply it to your feet to reduce swelling and give a nice smooth ending to the massage. It’s a considerably cheap and reusable process which is why I find it very convenient.
Laser Treatment For Heel Pain
Modern day sports medicine practitioners have come out with new development in the treatment of heel pain. Which is known as Cold Laser Treatment. Cold laser treatment uses a low-level photon energy, a type of ultraviolet light to penetrate the areas of pain. This stimulates cellular metabolism, increases circulation and increased cell migration that can help to reduce the pain, and swelling and help heal the plantar fascia.
There is no pain caused by the treatment, but this treatment may need a number of sessions before any beneficial effects are felt. Another new treatment requires platelet-rich plasma injections. These cells are taken from the pain sufferer and the cells are reintroduced into the affected part percutaneously. The simple act of an injection stimulates the healing.
Improvements are noticed after a single injection. Drawing of the blood and the injection itself can, however, be painful. A recent treatment for heel pain comes with what is called topaz radiocoblation. It is a minimally invasive surgery in which a radio frequency probe is inserted int the plantar fascia. This causes mini tears in the plantar fascia that enable it to lengthen. This treatment has been effective in treating long-term pain and solves the problems and not just treatment of the symptoms.
During treatment of the heel pain, it is also important to find ways to prevent the heel pain from recurring. Wearing the right shoes for each of your activities, whether it be walking, running or taking part in any sports can go a long way to prevent the pain. It is also important to see that feet get proper rest.
Diagnosing Your Heel Pain
When examining your heel, you should first look for swelling. Plantar fasciitis rarely has swelling so if your heel is swollen, there’s a good chance it is not the plantar fasciitis causing the pain. To check for swelling get a friend to compare the heels of your feet while you are laying on your back. See if they notice any difference in heel size.
Press firmly on the base of your heel in the center right under the heel bone. In this area you could find a plantar heel bursitis. In this circumstance, a shot of cortisone into the area is the likely diagnosis.
Another area on your heel you can diagnosis is the upper rim of the heel. This is the area where nerves will be traveling into the plantar fasciitis. So up above the heel bone on the softer skin cells. Press in this area for trigger points of the nerves for any sign of pain.
Compression of the heel is another way to determine whether your heel pain is caused by plantar fasciitis. With the large area of your hand, cup your hand over the heel and compress either side of the heel. Squeezing with your thumb and pinky fingers. This will help you determine if there is any stress fracture involved. You shouldn’t feel pain in your plantar fasciitis when compressing your heel. If there is signs of pain, there’s a good chance of stress fracture.
If your heel pain stems on the outer rim of your heel (the outline of your heel) this can often be associated with lower back pain and not caused by the plantar fasciitis at all. Sometimes this can be the result from a problem in one of the discs in the lower back. So as you can see, there are many causes to foot pain and diagnosing the problem can go along way to finding the best treatment. Also consult a specialist to get a professional opinion on your heel pain.