Heel pain is a very common experience – and one of the top reasons patients visit a podiatrist. Many people experience heel pain because of inflammatory conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. In addition, painful bone spurs on the heel may develop alongside these conditions, compounding the heel pain you’re experiencing.
Can your heel pain doctor help you with yet another potential cause of heel pain: fractures? Find out how your heel pain could be the result of bone breaks in your foot or ankle – and how your podiatrist can get you feeling better in no time.
Is My Heel Pain Caused By a Foot Fracture?
Fractures in the calcaneus (heel) bone are very painful–even debilitating. If you have even a small break in your heel bone, it might feel like a dull or sharp ache and be tender to the touch. You may notice bruising and swelling in the area. You may notice that the way you walk (your gait) changes, as well. If you’ve fractured your heel bone, you may not be able to put weight on that foot at all.
If your symptoms are severe or they persist, you need to see your heel pain doctor right away for a hands-on examination, along with digital X-rays. Additionally, you should tell your foot and ankle doctor when your symptoms began, the precise location of the pain, its intensity, and if there was a precipitating incident.
For acute, or sudden, fractures of the heel bone, there is usually a fall or trauma to the foot to blame. Perhaps you stepped down hard on your heel, or missed a rung on a ladder. Or maybe there was a fall on a slippery walkway or stair mishap at home. These types of hard impacts on the foot can cause a heel fracture.
Foot fractures may also occur due to repetitive injury or cumulative pressure over time. These stress fractures can cause heel pain and may stem from athletic activities such as running, basketball, or other types of exercise that repeatedly puts pressure on the heel. Swelling, bruising, and more generalised heel and ankle pain may develop over weeks to months – and tend not to improve, despite rest, ice, bandaging, and elevation (RICE protocol).
How Your Podiatrist Can Help
After a complete evaluation at one of our podiatry offices, your foot and ankle doctor can treat the source of your heel pain in a variety of ways, with the aim of relieving your pain, strengthening your foot, heel, and ankle, and helping you prevent future fractures.
Your treatment will depend on the type of fracture you experienced, how extensive it is, and the intensity of your symptoms. Some tiny stress fractures may heal on their own – typically with rest, orthotics, and assistive devices like canes or a walking boot. Physical therapy may also be recommended. In many cases, however, immobilization or surgery may be required.
Not treating a foot fracture can cause damage to nearby nerves and blood vessels. A serious bone infection may even develop if there is a break in your skin.
Preventing Foot Fractures
There are a number of ways you can improve your chances of remaining healthy and moving effectively on your feet, without pain. These include being sure to:
- Maintain an appropriate body weight to limit excessive pressure on your feet and ankles
- Wear sensible footwear and avoid high-heeled shoes
- Replacerunning shoes before they wear out
- Take a vitamin D supplement,if your foot doctor recommends it, to help strengthen your bones
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Stay hydrated
Heel Pain and Foot Fracture Care in San Antonio, TX and Beyond
If you are experiencing heel pain, please don’t wait to seek medical attention. Call The Podiatry Group of South Texas for a consultation with one of our friendly and highly skilled podiatrists. Feet and ankles are their only business, and they are ready to help you move freely and comfortably.
We have locations in San Antonio, Boerne, Hondo, Floresville, Kenedy, Uvalde, and Live Oak, Texas. Phone the office nearest you or simply request an appointment now.