Active Feet: Heel, Arch, and Sports Injury Pain
Colorado Springs is home to an active community of runners, hikers, dancers, athletes, military personnel and veterans, teachers, factory workers, and more. No wonder we’re one of the fittest communities in the entire United States!
While we encourage all our patients to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles, it’s also true that physical activity can lead to pain and injury, too. Long hours on your feet at work, or physically-demanding hobbies and activities, can wear down your feet and leave you hobbling. When your feet hurt, you can’t enjoy the lifestyle you want to live. The good news is that many of the conditions responsible for these symptoms are effectively treated with conservative care measures. Even better, most can be prevented with some easy measures.
Heel and Arch Pain
A wide variety of medical conditions can produce pain in heels and arches. Some of the most common include:
- Plantar fasciitis. This is the top cause of heel pain in adults. A strong band of tissue called the plantar fascia runs across the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, supporting the arch. Overuse can lead to stretching and tearing, producing pain. Symptoms are often worst right when you get up from bed.
- Achilles tendon disorders. Possible problems include tendinitis, which refers to inflammation in the tendon after an acute injury, or tendinosis, which is degradation of the tendon fibers themselves due to repetitive, chronic trauma.
- Bursitis. A small, fluid-filled sac called a bursa sits in the space between the Achilles tendon and heel bone to reduce friction. When injured, it can cause significant pain that is often mistaken for an Achilles injury.
Other Sports Injuries
Heel pain is only one of the many common painful conditions or injuries that can result from sports and activity. Others that we treat commonly include, but are by no means limited to:
- Ankle Sprains
- Ankle Instability
- Broken Ankles
- Midfoot Fractures
- Stress Fractures
- Toe Injuries
- Predislocation Syndrome/Capsulitis
- Shin Splints
Treatment always begins with an initial evaluation. Here, the doctor will conduct a thorough examination, including the use of any appropriate diagnostic technologies, to be sure that the diagnosis is correct. Then, we’ll discuss your treatment options and alternatives with you fully, so we can make an informed decision—together—about the best way forward.
When it comes to heel pain, arch pain, and other injuries, we usual begin with a focus on conservative care. Do what you can to rest your feet—we know you probably can’t skip work, but cut back temporarily on other activities that cause pain, like running or sports. Prop your feet up, take some ibuprofen, and use icing as necessary to help out with pain and swelling.
If symptoms haven’t improved within a few days, we’ll move on to other protocols. Common treatments include:
- A corticosteroid injection into the site of injury can help with pain and swelling.
- Inserts that fit into your shoes can provide the extra cushioning and support your feet need to eliminate the pain. We can fit you for appropriate pre-made orthotics, or use our digital scanning technology to create a customized set.
- Physical therapy. Often, a program of stretches and exercise can help you reduce strain on the heels and arches, and strengthen supporting muscles to heal and rehabilitate an injury.
- Most forms of heel pain and foot and ankle sports injuries will not require surgery. However, it is sometimes necessary in severe cases. We perform everything from minimally-invasive plantar fasciotomies (for heel pain) and nerve releases to total ankle joint replacements and complex reconstructive surgeries for severely broken bones. Our goal is never to push you into a surgery you don’t need, but to provide you with options and help you make the best choice for your condition, needs, and goals.
When it comes to pain and injury, don’t wait for painful symptoms to force your hand! Seeking treatment early, getting a proper diagnosis, and working through an appropriate treatment plan will help you recover faster so you can return to your lifestyle. Schedule an appointment at McVay Foot & Ankle in Colorado Springs by calling 719-266-5000 today.
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