The heel isn't a part of the human body most people give much thought to. However, this changes the very moment you start to experience heel pain. Heel pain can be so excruciating that you struggle to walk. The question is, what exactly could be causing this heel pain? Here's a quick rundown of some helpful information you should know.
What Could Be Causing the Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis are two of the more commonly diagnosed sources of heel pain. A podiatrist deciphers between the two based on where the pain is located. Pain on the bottom of your heel can mean plantar fasciitis, and pain on the back of your heel can mean Achilles tendinitis.
When You Should Go See a Podiatrist
If you are experiencing unbearable pain and swelling near your heel, you need to see a doctor immediately. The same is true if you cannot bend your foot or lift your toes. A fever associated with heel pain, numbness, or tingling is also a good reason to see a doctor sooner rather than later.
If the pain isn't unbearable and you otherwise feel fine, it is normal for you to wait a few days and see if you can shake off the pain on your own. However, you should not be going several weeks with this pain and trying to ignore it. You also should not be trying to ignore excruciating pain. Ignoring the fact that you have a problem with your heel could make the problem worse.
When the Doctor Says It Is Only a Heel Spur
Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are often mixed up and assumed to be two completely different conditions. While they are two different podiatry conditions, they are often connected. In fact, heel spurs are found in nearly 70 percent of x-rays where the patient also has plantar fasciitis. Podiatrists believe there is a connection between the two because either condition causes you to walk lopsided or abnormally, which, in turn, can cause the other condition. Basically, this means if you have a heel spur and start walking funny, this can cause plantar fasciitis, and the same thing can happen in the reverse order. Running or jogging on terrain not fit for running, such as hard surfaces, as well as being overweight or wearing unsupportive shoes can also cause both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis to occur.
Experiencing pain for more than a few days is not normal. In almost all cases, it is a symptom of a medical condition that requires the attention of a doctor. Don't be afraid to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or a podiatrist like Richard A Steinmetz DPM if you are experiencing heel pain.