A common problem in both men and women is heel pain. Around one in ten people will have at least one episode of heel pain in their lifetime. This article discusses heel pain, its management, and the use of ESWT in plantar fasciitis.
The common home treatments for heel pain include resting the affected foot as much as possible or at least for seven days. In the first couple of days, applying ice to the painful area can help decrease inflammation. This should be done two to three times a day for 15 minutes at a time. To relieve pain and minimize swelling, over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken.
To protect the heels, shoe inserts or heel pads can be used. It is also important to wear proper-fitting shoes. If the pain does not get better in a couple of week after home treatments, see your podiatrist for proper evaluation.
The podiatrist can recommend physical therapy. If any underlying foot abnormality is noted, orthotic devices can be prescribed to correct this. Cortisone injections are also sometimes given. Recently, ESWT for heel pain has been an option in patients who do not get relief from conventional treatments.
The most common reason for heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Generally, this is heel pain felt at the first step in the morning that progresses as the day goes on. Pain is also aggravated when standing for long periods of time. Sometimes, the pain becomes so severe that it feels like a stab in the heel of the foot. It can involve only one foot or can affect both feet at the same time. There are times when pain becomes so severe that it causes the patient to limp or unable to walk.
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