From plantar fasciitis to stress fractures, there are several potential reasons behind the sharp, stabbing, burning pain in your heel, but you could be making your symptoms worse — often without even realizing it.
Fortunately, our podiatric expert, Dr. Kelly Geoghan, specializes in heel pain and can help you identify the bad habits that exacerbating your discomfort. Here are a few of the things you’re doing wrong when it comes to heel pain.
You’re ignoring your weight
There is a direct correlation between your weight and the amount of pressure on your feet. Being even one pound over your ideal weight can increase the amount of pressure on your feet by as much as eight pounds. Losing even 10% of your body weight can take a significant amount of pressure off of your feet and provide countless other health benefits.
You don’t rest
We often praise people for being able to push through any type of pain, but doing so causes much more harm than good. Putting stress on an already damaged part of your body aggravates your condition. Depriving your body of the rest it needs also stunts its natural healing process.
Additionally, pushing through heel pain may cause you to compensate for the pain by changing the way you walk or standing in unnatural positions, which can contribute to problems in other areas, including your back, hip, and knees.
You’re wearing the wrong shoes
Proper footwear is crucial to supporting healthy feet. And if you have a condition or injury that’s causing you heel pain, your choice in footwear is especially important. We strongly recommend avoiding high heels, which increase the pressure on your feet, and thin, cheap flip flops, which lack arch support.
Instead, opt for shoes that have adequate cushioning, arch support, and room for your toes to move freely.
You don’t stretch before activity
You likely know that it’s important to stretch and warm up your body before exercise, but you might not realize that the rule also applies to your feet. Your feet have muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues that need to be “warmed up” before exercising.
Talk to us about some simple toe and foot exercises and stretches that you can add to your normal warm-up routine and help you avoid worsening your heel pain.
You’re not wearing your supports
Has it been a while since you’ve worn your braces or orthotics? That could be the reason behind your heel pain. It’s important that you continue to use your prescribed supportive device to reduce the risk of injury and alleviate pain.
You sit or stand for long periods of time
Depending on your job, it may be hard to control how much time you spend on your feet or in a chair, but you can do things like change your position and take frequent breaks. This helps to promote circulation and relieve some of the pressure on your feet.
Treating your heel pain
Making some life adjustments can go a long way in relieving your heel pain, and they can also complement your other heel pain treatments. Some of the most common treatments for heel pain Dr. Geoghan recommends include:
- Stretching exercises
- Physical therapy
- Activity changes
- Custom orthotics
- Footwear changes
- Oral medication
- Ice therapy
- Padding and strapping
- Night splint
- Injection therapy
- MLS Laser Therapy
- Shockwave Therapy
She takes the time to understand your unique needs and situation before recommending a treatment plan.
If you have more questions about heel pain or want to meet with Dr. Geoghan to address some of your bad habits, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today.