Luck Can Have a Little to Do with Heel Pain – But Not in Treating It!
We have been thinking about the role “luck” plays in things, mainly because some recent events have not felt so lucky.
We just celebrated a holiday where the concept of luck is prominently featured—except odds are good that you didn’t really do much celebrating. Does that count as irony?
When it comes to heel pain, there can be what many would consider a factor of “chance” in why you have it. However, that does not by any means imply that you are resigned to misfortune! Luck favors the well-prepared, after all.
Hitting the Heel Pain Lottery
Not all causes of heel pain are unavoidable. If you have been pushing your workouts too hard—especially without stretching beforehand—and end up with the back of your heel aching from Achilles tendinitis, we’re afraid we’ll have to say that’s on you.
(We will still be more than happy to help you, of course! We can also provide you tips on how to avoid the same mistake again.)
For some of us, however, our own heredity can stack the deck against us when it comes to our chances of suffering heel pain.
Family lines can have plenty of influence on the musculoskeletal structures of our feet. Usually, this does not create any situations of concern or consequence—but sometimes it does.
Some people are genetically predisposed to having an abnormal foot structure, such as flat feet or high arches. Now, even in these cases it does not always mean there will be any trouble. Some children may be identified as having flat feet while growing up, continue to have them into adulthood, and yet still never suffer any pain or strain from them. And if there are no symptoms, there is nothing that needs to be treated.
But, as you might suspect, sometimes the chips fall differently, and the way a person’s foot is structured can place excess stress on areas that can lead to heel pain.
The plantar fascia, a tough band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes, is a very common target for trouble, since it runs along the arch itself. It is a very durable structure, but like anything else it can eventually develop tears and aggravation if placed under more stress than it was designed to endure. This particular condition is known as plantar fasciitis, and there are plenty others that can develop based on where weight and pressure are being directed.
Another potential genetically related factor that can contribute to your heel pain is your body’s tendency to gain weight.
Studies have suggested that our genetic makeup can play a significant role in how our bodies store and release fat. And the higher your body weight, the more pressure is physically exerted on your feet, which can lead to painful complications. The more of a challenge you have when it comes to losing weight or maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), the more of a challenge it can be to avoid heel pain.
But enough about the ways that “fate” can predispose you toward heel pain. We’re here to help you find solutions!
When Life Gives You Heel Pain…
…get it treated! (And then maybe have some lemonade afterward.)
Even if something in your family tree has contribute to your heel pain, that absolutely does not mean you can’t do something about it.
The vast majority of heel pain cases are treatable, regardless of the cause. Even better, those treatments tend to be conservative in nature, meaning that surgery or invasive procedures are not usually necessary.
When a patient comes to see us for heel pain, we first seek to understand the roots of their problem. In addition to performing a physical examination, we’ll ask you questions about when you feel your symptoms and how they are affecting your daily life.
It is important that we have as comprehensive a picture as possible, since multiple factors can influence a case of heel pain. You might have flat feet, certainly, but perhaps your teaching job that requires you spend a lot of time standing is adding to the stress, or your athletic routines are not the friendliest for your condition.
Once we have as full a picture of what’s going on as possible, we can recommend a personalized plan to combat your condition.
In some cases, we may recommend some fundamental, traditional treatments such as a stretching regimen, icing, and changes to your footwear or activities. More advanced options such as laser therapy for reducing pain and inflammation may also be considered.
If your foot pain has some relation to an abnormality in your foot structure, we might also recommend a pair of custom orthotics. These are specially prescribed inserts to provide exacta mounts of cushioning and corrective support to your feet, shifting excess forces away from areas that are getting overloaded.
Make Your Own Luck When it Comes to Heel Pain
The better we can mitigate the hereditary factors that influence your heel pain, the better we can greatly reduce or even eliminate that pain in your life.
Our office in Roseburg is happy to hear from you for any foot or ankle concerns you may have. Give us a call at (541) 673-0742 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our online contact form if you prefer electronic communication.