Don’t Stumble Over These Heel Pain Myths

by | May 24, 2019

If there is something that affects a lot of people, you will be able to find plenty of myths and misinformation circulating about it! That is often the nature of collective thought, and our ability to spread stuff over the Internet at the speed of light has not helped things all that much.

When it comes to heel pain, a mix of potential causes as well as plenty of people who have tried all manners of remedies can lead to plenty of confusion and misconceptions. We’re here to cut through some of that, because there are two major truths about heel pain:

  • There is always something that can be done to improve it.
  • Effective treatment means determining the root cause.

And if you believe something is causing your heel pain that isn’t, or—even worse—that there’s nothing you can do to find relief, then you won’t be finding the comfort you deserve!

So if you think any of the following has been true for you, it might be time to reconsider.

Myth: Heel Spurs Are a Common Cause of Heel Pain

When the topic of heel pain comes up, heel spurs don’t tend to be far behind.

These bony growths tend to show up on imaging tests when searching for a cause of heel pain. And, well, how could they not be causing trouble. Just look at those pointy things!

The truth, however, is that most heel spurs show up only when we’re looking for the actual cause of heel pain. Their appearance might be related to it, but it is not often causing any actual harm itself.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 1 in 10 people is estimated to have at least one heel spur. But of that 1 in 10, only 5 percent feel any negative effects from it. Five percent out of 10 percent is a small population.

Since heel spurs tend to develop as the result of stress against the heel bone, it is often the case that a condition causing that stress is more likely to blame. Plantar fasciitis is a frequent suspect, and the two conditions often show up together—but it’s the plantar fasciitis that’s the real culprit!

Myth: Heel Pain is Due to Inheritance

Not exactly.

Heel pain is not like a bunion. A bunion is a specific condition, and having bunions run in your family can increase your odds of developing a bunion yourself.

There are certain inherited traits that might make heel pain more likely, but in a more indirect sense. For example, having flat feet (aka fallen arches) can be something that is genetically influenced. However, having flat feet in itself does not guarantee you will have heel pain, either.

Similar cases exist with having tight calf muscles or high arches. Your genetics might have a say in whether you have these problems, but they might not necessarily be the root cause of heel pain complications.

Myth: If I Have Heel Pain, I’ll Probably Have It for Life

This tends to be a rather dour belief, frankly because so many people have been disappointed by previous attempts at treating their pain.

If you have tried one or two solutions that just didn’t work out, it can make sense to believe that there isn’t something that will help you. Maybe it’s just something you must deal with as part of your life or as part of your job, right?

This is what a lot of people tell themselves as they grit their teeth and bear through their discomfort every morning, noon, and night. But it is simply not true!

As we noted before, effective treatment means addressing the root of the problem. There are different potential factors in causing heel pain, and a treatment that doesn’t touch the one responsible for yours will have little or no effect in the long run.

Even when a condition is unable to be fully resolved, a great deal can often be done to help manage and alleviate the symptoms. Various forms of treatment may include:

  • Changes in footwear.
  • Custom-made orthotics.
  • Adjustments to your working environment.
  • Adjustments to your exercise routines.
  • Wearing splints at night.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Injections of corticosteroids.
  • Stretches and exercises to increase mobility and condition supporting muscles.

Sometimes, even with a proper diagnosis, a certain treatment will be more effective for one patient than another. Sometimes more than one type of treatment in tandem will have the best results. So much of it comes down to a case-by-case basis where we examine not just your physical health, but learn more about your fitness habits, work demands, family history of foot problems and more. All of it plays an important role in diagnosis and, in turn, our recommendations for treatment.

Get the Straight Story on Your Heel Pain

Too many people go on with their lives thinking their heel pain can’t be helped—when that help is only a phone call away!

At Waukesha Foot Specialists, we have helped many patients find solutions to their heel pain problems, either greatly reducing their discomfort or eliminating it altogether. Most of these solutions are conservative, as well. Surgery is rarely ever needed to be considered—but if it does, we can help you make the best treatment decisions for you needs.

Give our office a call at (262) 544-0700 to schedule an appointment with us. If you prefer to reach us electronically, feel free to use our online contact form instead.

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