What to Do (and Not Do) When Chronic Heel Pain Persists

by | Jul 1, 2020

Heel pain is a very common condition, affecting millions of Americans. But that doesn’t mean you need to keep living day-to-day with your symptoms.

If you have been struggling with heel pain for months or even years, though, it might feel like you don’t really have any other choice. You have likely taken steps and tried certain ways to address the pain, only to be disappointed by the lack of results.

Chronic heel pain can be a consistent source of misery and frustration, and should never be something you view as a hopeless case. At Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists, we have helped patients find relief from their heel pain – no matter how long they have had it. We would love a chance to discuss your symptoms and find working solutions for you as well.

For anyone who is living with chronic heel pain – whether it’s you or someone you love – it is important to keep several things in mind.

Do NOT Ignore the Pain

When you live with something long enough, it becomes easier to accept as “part of life.” And when we start doing that, we often tend to push through activities with the simple expectation that the pain is there and something we just “have to deal with.”

However, pain is never something that should be accepted as a “normal” part of life. It is a sign that something needs to be addressed.

When you try to ignore pain, you not only prolong it, but can increase your risk of causing further damage—making things worse for you down the road.

Of course, this does not mean that you must sit quietly for the rest of your life and not do anything for fear of more problems. It still remains important to exercise and do what you love as best you can, but also while limiting the risk of further trouble as much as possible.

The better you understand the causes of your heel pain, the better the plan that can be organized to keep you safely active as you strive toward optimal relief.

Do NOT Believe that Your Options Are Exhausted

If you have tried to treat your heel pain and had limited or temporary results at best, it can be easy to assume that nothing is going to work – or at least that nothing will help you outside of surgery.

However, there are a great many cases where this simply isn’t true.

Heel pain can be a much trickier condition to pin down than you might initially think. That’s because it is not actually a condition in itself, but a symptom that could indicate a variety of possible problems.

If you have heel pain, it might be due to:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Nerve compression
  • Heel spurs

…and many other potential causes! Each has its own needs that must be addressed, and sometimes there can be multiple factors influencing a condition.

In a case of plantar fasciitis, for example, your plantar fascia could be consistently overstrained due to an overzealous workout routine – or it could be due to unsupportive footwear, or working at job that forces you to stand on hard surfaces all day, or an abnormality in your foot structure, or tight calf muscles. It can be more than one of these factors, or even others!

To best address any instance of chronic heel pain, we must ensure all of the root causes are being addressed. Otherwise, it is likely that there is only a limited relief of pain, or that an initial full recovery is dashed when the pain later returns.

And while there will uncommonly be situations when a surgical procedure is the best method for heel pain relief, we do not consider it unless all conservative options have been exhausted or clearly would not provide the results we seek.

Foot Exam

Do Be Willing to Accept Some Change

An effective treatment plan for chronic heel pain can require multiple forms of treatment, depending on all the circumstances surrounding the condition. Some of these can be rather effortless, but others may require some effort and diligence on your part.

Potential components of a comprehensive treatment plan might include one or more of the following:

  • A period of rest and recovery.
  • The use of custom orthotic inserts to shift excess stress away from vulnerable areas.
  • Changes in footwear.
  • Changes to your exercise or activity routines.
  • Adhering to a regimen of stretching or specific exercise to condition areas in need of improved strength, flexibility, or endurance.

And there may be other forms of treatment we may recommend, too. It all comes down to a firm understanding of both the physical circumstances surrounding your chronic heel pain and the needs you have as an individual.

By working together and making sure we have all the factors laid out, we can determine the most effective treatment plan for you.

Do NOT Give Up

The sooner that heel pain receives professional evaluation and treatment, the more quickly that favorable results tend to be seen. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting heel pain is a lost cause. Not by a long shot. 

Our Ladera Ranch office is here to help you find the answers you need. Take the first steps and call us at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) today to schedule an appointment with us. We also gladly accept telemedicine appointments if you wish your first consultation to be conducted remotely. 

If you prefer electronic communication instead, fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you during our standard office hours.