Getting and Staying Healthy: A Health and Medical Blog

The Signs Your Heel Pain Needs Medical Attention

As you walk, your heels take a lot of the impact between your feet and the ground, so it's not surprising that heel pain is one of the most common foot complaints. Often, this is because of a condition called plantar fasciitis, although there can be other causes behind the pain.

When you're experiencing heel pain, even if it's fairly minor, it can make walking uncomfortable. Luckily, it normally goes away fairly quickly on its own, although you might need to rest up a little to help any swelling go down. In some situations, however, you'll need to see a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Here's how to tell when it's time to book an appointment.

There's no response to normal home treatments

With heel pain, treating the affected area with ice is usually an effective way to reduce swelling and alleviate the discomfort. Resting as much as possible and taking painkillers should also help your foot recover.

If there's no improvement after a couple of days, despite trying to treat it yourself, you should get your heel looked at by a professional.

The pain continues to get worse

Over the first day or two, your pain should begin to improve somewhat, even if you're not treating it. At the very least, it should stay roughly the same.

If you feel like your heel is steadily becoming more painful, it's not likely to improve without proper medical attention, so don't wait around and put yourself through unnecessary discomfort.

There's significant visible swelling

When you have a painful heel, there's likely to be some amount of swelling, but it's not usually particularly visible. If the heel and surrounding area are seriously swollen and red, it suggests you have an injury that's not going to get better without proper treatment.

Keep the foot elevated and treat it with plenty of ice until you can get it seen to by a podiatrist.

It's seriously affecting your normal activities

Although it's uncomfortable and might make you walk a little awkwardly at first, heel pain shouldn't be the cause of significant inconvenience.

If it's keeping you awake at night, making walking extremely difficult or otherwise interfering with your everyday life, you should get your heel checked out as soon as possible. When your pain is affecting your quality of life, it's best not to leave it to get better on its own, even if none of the other warning signs applies to you.