“I can play with my grandchildren and go hiking”: Top 5 questions about Heel or foot pain

What are common causes for my heel pain?

Most common reason for heel pain or painful feet is overuse injury.  When we do the same movement or activity again and again we usually get tired. However, we do not stop and push ourselves beyond our limits. This causes muscles and tissues (fascia) to break down resulting in pain. Injury and pain leads to dysfunction which results in decreased range of motion and strength.

Other reasons for heel pain can be traumatic injuries. Often we twist and injure our ankles. Mostly these injuries are sprains or strains. Occasionally, these may be accompanied by swelling. Severity of pain or swelling will depend on the extent of tissue damage or injury.

Which people are at highest risk for heel pain?

People who work long hours standing, walking or driving are generally at highest risk for pain. People involved in activities like sports, walking, hiking, running etc may be at higher risk for pain in their heel or foot.

Should I use heat or ice on my legs?

What you are going to use depends on type of injury you may have. It is important to know how it works. When we use heat it increases blood flow to area that helps in pain relief.  If your feet is stiff or tight then heat is beneficial. Do not use heat if you have swelling.

With ice there is decreased blood flow so it helps when you have swelling.

“Your foot is like foundation of your house, your body stands on it. If foundation is weak then building is weak. If your feet/heel is weak rest of your body is also weak. We must have strong roots to stand tall”.

How will I be treated and how long it will take for my pain to go away?

It depends on you. In general, it takes about 4 to 8 weeks for majority patients to recover and full range of activities can be done after 12 weeks. Our treatment plan will have three phases. In phase-1, our therapists do complete assessment, determine what may be the reason for the pain. Initially, we focus only on getting rid of your pain, numbness and tingling. In phase-2, we focus on getting your movement and full strength. In phase-3, we focus to get you back to your previous activities.

If you have pain, it means you have irritated your tissue. If you continue to do activities which further irritates them then it will take you longer to heel. Its important to limit some activities and take rest.

If our clients are not progressing as we would like them we work with their doctors to have more investigations to see what’s going on with them.

What other things affect my recovery?

Stress, diabetes, have co-morbid conditions like heart disease, poor diet and take no rest levels will take longer to recover. In general, our clients who come for regular visits, do exercises regularly and follow their treatment plan have best response to treatment.

10 seconds Self Test for plantar fasciitis (heel/foot pain)

Does your heel or bottom of foot hurt:

  • With first few steps in morning when you are out of your bed? Becomes worse as day progresses?
  • When walking after prolonged sitting?
  • When climbing stairs or standing on your toes?
  • After standing for long periods?

Your feet roll inward when you walk, You have high arches or flat feet