Why Ditching Dr. Google is Best for Your Heel Pain (and General Sanity)
The Internet has a lot of good things going for it. You can order just about anything you’d like from all over the world and get it delivered to your doorstep. You can get directions to that one Italian place you always forget how to find. You can look at cats.
When it comes to the Internet as a source of information, however, things can get a bit dicey.
“Dr. Google” Can Have a Questionable Diploma
While there is a lot of information to be gleaned out there, just waiting for you to find it, not all of it is the most accurate. This concerns us when it comes to medical advice, and a big area of contention is heel pain.
Perhaps you’ve heard the stereotype of someone who goes onto WebMD with a sniffle and logs off convinced they have the plague. That’s far from the only way a quest for knowledge can go wrong online, though.
Social media is filled with all kinds of tips and remedies. Start poking around Facebook for ways to treat heel pain and you’ll likely come across a dozen different “miracle cures,” a few coming from your own extended family and at least half featuring apple cider vinegar.
Maybe one of them might help a bit? But probably not, and is it worth investing the time and effort into sifting through all these claims while your heels are still causing you trouble the entire time?
Are we saying all the information out there is bad? Certainly not! Your searching for heel pain help might have led you here, after all, and it would be very awkward of us to make that claim.
When it comes to searching for solutions to a problem like heel pain, however, it often requires much more than a Google search to set yourself on the right path.
Because yes, there are multiple paths when it comes to treating heel pain!
Heel Pain is Not as Basic as You Might Think
Heel pain might sound like one of the simplest problems known to the human body. Your heel hurts, right? End of story.
We wish it was that easy. In reality, heel pain is a symptom that can stem from multiple causes. Here are just a few of them:
- Plantar fasciitis. This is one of the more common causes, in which a thick band of tissue that runs along the underside of your foot from your toes to your heel bone becomes overstretched and slightly torn.
- Achilles tendinitis. When the Achilles tendon at the back of your heel suffers from inflammation and/or degradation.
- Stress fractures. These are cracks that develop along the surface of a bone that has become weakened, often by overuse.
- Pinched nerve. Repetitive overuse, trauma, or even an abnormality in the structure of the foot can cause a sensitive nerve to become compressed or trapped against the ankle or other location near the heel, causing pain.
- Heel spurs. Heel spurs are a bit of a unique condition. They are bony protrusions off the heel bone caused by the buildup of calcium in stressed areas. However, even if they are found to be present in somebody’s heel, the spurs themselves are often not the cause of the pain being experienced!
There are even more potential causes of heel pain, and Googling will likely lead you to them. But that’s the point: there’s a tsunami of information to surf, and—depending on where you go—not all of it is even correct.
Correct Diagnosis Doesn’t Always Lead to Correct Treatment
So, let’s say that the correct diagnosis has been made by the Internet: you have plantar fasciitis.
Now you just get the plantar fasciitis treatment and everything will be right as rain. Right?
Except there isn’t really one standard “plantar fasciitis cure.” Just as there are multiple causes of heel pain, there are multiple potential influences behind those causes, each of which can require a different form of, or adjustment in, treatment.
(We told you heel pain was more complicated than you might expect!)
How varied can it get? Let’s imagine some patients who each have a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis:
- One is a runner.
- One is a factory worker.
- One is an accountant.
Perhaps the runner has not been taking enough time to recover after their runs and is pushing their feet too hard. This can easily create too much strain on the plantar fascia. In this case, we would recommend a change in workout routines, as well as enough rest for the plantar fascia to heal. (We also would recommend downloading a free copy of our guide for beginning runners, if you’re interested in learning how to take care of your feet while staying active!)
The factory worker is not running, though. In fact, they spend most of the day standing still. And that could very well be the problem! Perhaps they need different work shoes and a padded floor to stand on while they work.
The accountant isn’t a runner nor do they stay on their feet all day. Their troubles may be coming from having excess weight, or an abnormal foot structure that places too much stress on certain areas. They may need a pair of custom orthotics, or a plan to strengthen their feet and lose weight.
And, in each case, the real source of the problem may be different. Perhaps the runner has an abnormal foot structure, or the factory worker has to do a lot of repetitive stooping or climbing that is affecting the plantar fascia.
There are many people who reach for something they think will take care of their heel pain, only for it to have little or no effect. They may resign themselves to the belief that nothing will help them, but the truth is they just haven’t found the solution that addresses their specific causes properly.
But that’s why we’re here! We can listen to your concerns a lot better than Dr. Google, and provide much more customized support as well.
If you have been suffering from consistent heel pain, there’s more than enough hope that something can be done to help you find relief! Call our Colorado Springs office at (719) 266-5000. If you prefer to contact us electronically, you can always fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will respond to you.