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Your foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons. The heel is the largest bone in your foot.
If you overuse or injure your heel, you may experience heel pain. This can range from mild to disabling. In many cases, if you have heel pain, you will need a doctor or podiatrist to diagnose the cause.
There are several common causes of heel pain.
If you develop heel pain, you may first try some home remedies, such as rest, to ease your symptoms. If your heel pain does not get better within two to three weeks, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
You should call your doctor immediately if:
If you develop heel pain, you can try several methods at home to ease your discomfort. For example:
If these home care strategies do not ease your pain, you will need to see your doctor. He or she will perform a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms and when they began. Your doctor may also take an X-ray to determine the cause of your heel pain. Once your doctor knows what is causing your pain, he or she will be able to provide you with the appropriate treatment.
In many cases, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy. This can help to strengthen the muscles and tendons in your foot, which helps to prevent further injury. If your pain is severe, your doctor may provide you with anti-inflammatory medications. These medications can be injected into the foot or taken by mouth.
Your doctor may also recommend that you support your foot as much as possible — either by taping the foot or by using special footwear devices.
In very rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem, but heel surgery often requires a long recovery time and may not always relieve your foot pain.
Heel pain can be disabling and affect your daily movements. It may also change the way that you walk. If this happens, you may be more likely to lose your balance and fall, making you more prone to other injuries.
It may not be possible to prevent all cases of heel pain, yet there are some easy steps that you can take to avoid injury to the heel and prevent pain. Whenever possible, you should:
Written by: Darla Burke
Medically reviewed on: Sep 24, 2015: Steven Kim, MD
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