Thursday, 30 May 2013

Foot Care Advice For Heel Pain

Foot pain is a problem that almost everyone suffers from at some stage in their life. The severity of the pain will vary from case to case and will also depend on the cause of the problem. Among the most common causes and symptoms are:
  • Stress fractures – these are especially common among athletes or those who place a lot of stress on their feet for long periods of time.
  • Achilles tendonitis and retro calcaneal bursitis - can cause pain at the back of the foot instead of the more common location of under it.
  • Plantar Fasciitis –This is among the most common causes of foot pain and is the result of irritation to and inflammation of the tissues that is located at the arch of the foot.
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – This refers to the pinching of the large nerve at the back of the foot leading to severe foot and heel pain. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand, this too is often caused by constant repetitive actions.
Care Options
There are many other causes of heel pain and the foot care advised and treatment options available will depend on the specific cause of the pain. However, there are some general options available that help in most cases. If trying any of the following procedures results in increased pain or unwanted side effects, they should be discontinued immediately.
  • Rest is among the most important of things you can do. Resting the foot allows for damaged nerves, muscles and tendons to heal and once they do so, the pain may be a thing of the past. However, a limited amount of stretching of the feet and calves will help to keep the foot flexible.
  • Over the counter painkillers can provide immediate relief from heel and foot pain. But they should not be used for an extended period of time. If the over the counter medications are not effective, a doctor should be consulted so that a prescription for a more powerful painkiller may be given.
  • Ice packs can help to reduce foot pain and are very effective if the amount of pain has suddenly increased for any reason.
  • Check with your doctor or podiatrist to see if you are wearing the right kind of shoes. For example, many people with heel pain think that wearing flat soled shoes without heels will ease their pain. This is not so. The shoe should have a heel to provide support for the heel of the foot.
  • Shoes with extra cushioning can help reduce the pressure on the foot and the amount of heel and foot pain.
  • Orthoses are specially designed insoles that are placed inside the shoes to increase support for the feet and lower the pressure on the heels allowing them to recover and the pain to reduce. For people with abnormal foot shape or structure, custom made orthoses are available.
  • Using sports strapping to provide extra support of the heel is another way to reduce the pain.
  • A podiatrist may recommend the use of Night Splints to help with heel pain. Most people sleep with their toes pointing down which squeezes the tissue of the feet and increases pain. The splints keep the feet pointing up while you are asleep and reduces the stress on the tissue and the pain and also speeds up recovery.
  • If nothing helps with the heel pain, then a doctor may recommend Corticosteroid Injections. Corticosteroids which have a very strong anti-inflammatory effect work to offer immediate relief. But because of the side effects these are used very sparingly.
  • And finally, if no other foot care options alleviate foot and heel pain, surgery is often the best solution, if the cause to the pain warrants it.

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