Consistent pain in your heel or ankle may seem like a basic symptom, but the impact of either can be enormous to one's day-to-day life.
The uncomfortable cost of activity can start to become too high, even for things one used to love. When you come home from work in agony, the will to do much of anything besides sitting on the couch takes a significant drop.
One of the worst consequences, however, is how many people come to believe there isn't anything significant they can do about their aching heels or ankles; that this is just a "part of life" they must deal with. Perhaps they have even tried one or two ways of trying to take care of the problem, only to receive limited results at best.
But you do not have to resign yourself to a life of pain!
While ankle or heel pain may seem simple on the surface, there are many potential reasons behind them. The key to effective treatment often lies in determining these root causes and providing treatments that directly address them.
A number of different conditions can be responsible for chronic heel pain or ankle pain. One of the primary factors concerns the distribution of weight across the feet.
Our feet are built to endure great amounts of pressure, with every step we take creating force equal to more than our body weight. However, abnormalities in the structure of the foot can cause forces to shift and concentrate in certain areas, making them more prone to pain and injury.
These imbalances can be inherently part of the foot structure, but can also be influenced by factors such as:
- Your choice of footwear. Do you spend a lot of time in high heels or shoes that are too flat?
- Your work environment. Do you stand all day on hard surfaces? Do you have to spend long periods of time in a stooped position?
- Your activity levels. Are you exercising longer or at a higher intensity than your feet and ankles are currently conditioned to take? This can gradually cause parts of your supportive structure to weaken and even collapse.
Of course, other elements may also result in heel or ankle pain, including direct trauma and inherited conditions. It is even possible for older injuries thought to have healed well to result in chronic pain and instability in the future.
Notable common conditions that can be responsible for heel and ankle pain include, but are far from limited to:
- Plantar fasciitis (one of the most common causes of heel pain)
- Flat feet
- Achilles tendinitis
- Stress fractures
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Heel bursitis
- Sever’s Disease
Treatment for foot pain begins with a thorough examination of the condition, including learning more about your medical history and what your feet and ankles go through on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to go into details, as everything helps in a diagnosis.
Once we have determined the underlying causes of pain, we can recommend the most suitable treatments for addressing them.
Even at this point, two patients with the same problem may not receive the same type of treatment. Different elements such as age, work environment, and lifestyle play big roles!
We will focus on conservative methods as often as possible, as long as they prove effective. These types of treatments include rest, icing, stretching, changes to footwear, changes to work environment, changes to workout routines, and/or the use of pain relieving or anti-inflammatory medications.
More advanced forms of treatment may include therapeutic injections, stem cell injections, the use of orthotics, or technologies such as EPAT to stimulate natural recovery processes.
In very rare cases, surgery may be considered when other types of treatments just won’t be effective.
Pain is never a “normal” part of life, nor is it something you should ever endure without attention!
Letting pain-causing problems linger day after day can increase the risks of worse and longer-lasting problems in the future. Let the experts at Rainier Foot & Ankle Associates set you on the path to relief, and help avoid further problems from developing.
Schedule an appointment with our Enumclaw, WA office by calling (360) 761-1285. If you prefer contacting us electronically, fill out the form at the bottom of this page and a member of our staff will get in touch.