How Can I Prevent Heel Pain?

Prevention is the best cure, especially when it comes to heel pain.  There are a few tips to keep in mind in order to prevent heel pain from occurring, or once treated, prevent it from returning.

Don't Take Pain Lightly

Pain will not go away by itself, and pain should never be ignored.  Once heel pain starts, it can get worse, if not treated right away.  You must seek treatment immediately, because the longer you wait, the longer it will take to rid yourself of pain. Topical pain relievers such as Biofreeze, oral anti- inflammatory medication, along with other modalities will help.  Some simple stretching and icing exercises will also help, along with an arch support.  However if this doesn't improve in a few days, then you need to make an appointment with one of our doctors.  She will take a history, perform a thorough exam, and will likely take xrays (radiographs) and discuss if there are any bony issues contributing to the heal pain.  You will leave with some aids to help you cope and cure your heel pain, along with a comprehensive treatment plan from our doctors. 

Never Go Barefoot!

Even at home, or at the beach, or on vacation, it is important to wear a supportive shoe or sandal.  One of the best supportive sandals on the market is the Spenco recovery sandal, which we recommend at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle.  To prevent the collapse of the arch, you need proper arch support. With proper arch support, this prevents the stretching out of the plantar fascia along the arch, and arch support actually decreases the pressure on the heel.   If you can't find Spenco sandals, look for a sandal that have this feature, along with a deep heel cup and a metatarsal pad to help even distribution of weight along the ball of the foot. Whatever you do, do not wear the traditional "flip flop" sandal.  It seems like it would be the most comfortable, however in reality it does not give enough support in the arch.  

Beware Of Nonsupportive Shoes

 Everyone loves a cute ballet flat or dress shoe, but without the proper support, you will regret wearing them.  It doesn't mean you can't wear them, but you may need additional support such as a custom orthotic, or and insert that fits in your shoe.  At Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic, we carry Footsteps,  which are the best non prescription inserts on the market.  As runners, moms, and women who like fashionable shoes, we have tried them all, and we can say from personal experience, Footsteps are the best over the counter choice.  The optimum choice is a custom orthotic.  At Prairie Path Foot and Ankle, we will fashion a custom orthotic by taking an impression, or cast, of both feet in neutral position.  The casts are then sent to an outside lab, where impressions are made per our doctors' specifications according to the prescription.  The result is an orthotic that is specific for your foot structure and your shoe.  We will dispense them after they return from the lab, describe the break-in process, and make a follow up appointment to make sure that they are relieving your pain.  We will also work with you to make any alterations/refurbishments to make sure they fit well and are working to correct the biomechanics of your foot. 


Take Baby Steps Back On The Road To Recovery

Once you have gotten rid of heel pain, it's OK to throw yourself back into exercise with renewed vigor... but a little bit at a time.  Don't try to increase speed, distance, and intensity all at once.  Start off easy and work your way back.  

-See your podiatrist to help pave your way to recovery.  See the specialists at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic for diagnosis, a treatment plan, and prevention of heel pain.  We can discuss treatment options that will fix your problem. 

For more information, see our link on how to get rid of heel pain