Is Your Changed Routine Causing You Heel Pain?
A great many people have seen their daily routines upended recently, making for many changes to how they spend their time. You may be one of them.
It doesn’t have to take something as widespread as a global pandemic to cause significant changes in your life, however. You may find yourself with a change in your work status (hopefully a voluntary one) or the worthwhile challenges of raising a new family. You might even change things up just because you want to see a difference!
Major life changes, however, often come alongside a change in the factors that influence your foot and ankle health. This can sometimes result in heel pain—even when the overall changes are positive for your well-being!
We will be looking into how some kinds of changes can lead to more stress on your heels, but let’s make an important fact clear right out of the gate:
If you are suffering from persistent heel pain, regardless of what the reason may be, please reach out to us to get the help you deserve! Chronic heel pain rarely goes away on its own without the proper treatment or lifestyle changes, and we can help you determine the best route to finding comfort again.
With that said, let’s take a look at a few ways changes in your routine can have an impact on your feet.
A Reduction in Activity
So maybe you find yourself operating out of your home a lot more often than you used to, or a job that had you on your feet much of the time is now more often keeping you behind a desk.
It is not difficult for a reduction in movement to add up over time and cause a gradual increase in weight. That is a very human thing to have happen.
With an increase in weight, however, comes an increase in the forces on your feet—and that extra force is applied with each step that you take.
It might not seem like a few pounds would be a big deal, and many times that’s true. But as weight increases, so do the chances of suffering from strain. And if you have an abnormality in your foot structure—such as flat feet, for example—weight can be getting improperly distributed toward a specific area of the foot. And when you place all that pressure on one specific spot of the foot, you are increasing the odds that something will “break.”
Greater inactivity can also gradually weaken soft tissues that had previously been conditioned for greater strength and endurance. In such situations, implementing a stretching and activity regimen—when possible—can have a significant impact within a treatment plan.
But a slowdown in activity is not the only potential cause of problems. An increase of activity can be a culprit, too!
At the most fundamental level, activity is good for your feet. It not only helps your strength, flexibility, and range of motion, but also your circulation. It is tougher for your heart to get blood to your feet than many other parts of your body, so anything you can do to strengthen and maintain circulation to this area helps.
However, activity is best for your body when it is able to properly handle the stresses of it. Too much stress when your feet aren’t quite ready can lead to pain, and you don’t necessarily need to be training for a marathon for this situation to present itself.
Even if you have found an opportunity to get moving more (taking the dog out for walks every day, for example), those extra steps apply extra cumulative force to your feet.
We previously talked about how weight can increase force, but so can an increase in steps—even if you have actually been losing weight in the process.
Our bodies get worn down by the physical stresses we place on them, and your tissues need time to recover and come back with greater strength and endurance to handle those stresses. Too much accumulated stress over time without enough rest can cause a breakdown. Stress fractures and plantar fasciitis are a couple of maladies that can form in this manner.
Making Changes to Treat Your Heel Pain
The good news is that heel pain of most any form—whether it has arisen through lifestyle changes or not—tends to be easily treatable via non-invasive methods. The key is determining the specific causes of your pain and addressing them properly.
We must not consider just the recent changes in your life, but also whether any underlying problems had a role in influencing or triggering your condition as well. If we treat the pain itself but don’t address an intrinsic problem (e.g. an abnormality in your foot structure), the odds are higher that the pain will return in the future.
Our doctors know how to approach heel pain treatment in ways that best meet the individual needs of each patient we see. No two cases are quite the same, and neither should any two courses of treatment.
Treatment for heel pain may include one or more of the following approaches:
- Changes in activity levels (e.g. increasing activity, reducing activity, or changing the focus of activity)
- Changes in footwear
- The use of custom orthotics
- Rest and icing
- Medications or injections
Find the Heel Pain help You Need
The worst thing you can do for heel pain is ignore it and hope it changes on its own. That’s one change you can almost never expect to happen!
We have multiple locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all ready and happy to hear from you. Give us a call, or use our online scheduler if you prefer to reach us electronically.