There is no question about it – heel pain can definitely be a frustrating problem. And when this type of discomfort starts to affect your mobility, you may begin to wonder if you should be worried (and if there’s anything you can do to relieve your discomfort).
But the truth is determining whether your level of pain will effectively respond to at-home treatments, or if your condition actually warrants a trip to the doctor – or even the emergency room – is not always that simple.
That’s why your best course of action when heel pain strikes is to come visit our office as soon as possible. We will be able to confirm what is, in fact, causing your heels to hurt and provide the best treatments available to address your specific condition. So don’t wait until your heel pain has become severe to get the help you need.
That being said, we have some tips for you to keep in mind when dealing with this annoying problem.
Will you be able to find comfort using at-home treatments? Do you need Dr. Gene Reister to take a closer look at your condition? Or should you skip all the above and head on over to the emergency room?
Let’s find out!
When At-Home Heel Pain Treatment is Enough
The good news is heel pain can often be treated at home by taking some simple steps. And if your discomfort is not severe, or interfering with your mobility, then these measures should be more than enough to find the relief you are looking for.
At-home heel pain treatment usually consists of using the RICE method, making some changes to your footwear, and maybe incorporating some stretching exercises into your daily routine:
- Rest. Give your feet some time to heal. Cease all high-impact physical activities until the pain has completely subsided.
- Ice. Apply ice to the area in pain for about 20 minutes at a time. Make sure to protect your skin by using a thin towel.
- Compress. Wrap the injured area – not too tightly – to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Elevate. Keep the injured foot elevated above heart level as much as possible.
- Wear the right shoes. Make sure you choose footwear that provides proper arch support and cushioning for your heels.
- Take over-the-counter medication. OTC pain relievers and anti-inflammatories will help with discomfort.
- Do some stretching. Incorporate some stretching into your daily routine. We can teach some exercises that will be beneficial.
- Consider wearing custom orthotics. These versatile medical devices will provide support exactly where your feet need it most.
Now, if these home care strategies are not enough to ease your pain, it’s time to make an appointment at our Richardson Podiatry office. There may be an underlying condition that is causing your heels to hurt, and only professional treatment will be able to properly address the issue.
When It’s Time to See a Doctor
Usually, your best bet is to come visit our office for treating severe pain that doesn’t necessarily require a trip to the emergency room. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment at our office right away:
- Pain does not respond to at-home treatments.
- Pain has suddenly become worse.
- You can’t feel your feet or heels.
- Pain is present even when not bearing weight.
So if your symptoms are ongoing but can wait just a few hours – or even a day or two – it’s a good idea to see a professional that is specialized in foot care, like Dr. Reister. He will be able to not only determine the exact cause of your heel pain, but also provide the most appropriate treatment to get you back on your feet.
But what if your pain is too severe to wait for an appointment time and date to come around?
When to Visit the Emergency Room for Heel Pain
If your situation feels like “every minute counts,” going to an emergency room is now your best bet. This should be determined based on how quickly your symptoms have onset, how fast your condition is deteriorating, or how likely failure to treat your condition might result in permanent damage or disability.
Keep in mind that an ER doctor’s goal is to put the brakes on an emergency situation. This means that they will make sure your condition is under control and that the threat of long-term damage is properly addressed. However, that will likely be the extent of care they will be able to provide. In fact, it’s highly likely that you’ll be referred to a foot and ankle specialist who can help you treat your condition effectively.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, the ER may be the right choice:
- Lacerations of the heel or heavy bleeding.
- A suspected torn Achilles tendon.
- Inability to move or bear weight on the heel or foot, accompanied by fever, chills, and nausea.
- You have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Extreme pain and swelling.
And when in doubt as to what you should do, feel free to give our office a call!
We Can Steer You in the Right Direction
When pain comes into the mix, we know that it can sometimes be difficult to decide what exactly should be done. (What you know for sure, though, is that you want that pain to away – now!)
So take a few moments to breathe and properly evaluate the situation, then consider the information we have given you. But no matter what you do, don’t keep pushing through the pain or hope that it will eventually go away on its own – because it probably won’t. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is not quite right, and you should listen to these warnings.
Give our office a call for more information, or to schedule an appointment today. You can reach us by dialing (972) 690-5374, or by filling out our contact form online.