Tips for Athletes Living with Heel Pain

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Heel painWhether you are Arian Foster of the Houston Texans rushing for a big gain or Joe Schmoe out for your weekly Saturday run, you don’t want to be slowed down by heel pain. It is one of the most common problems for athletes, though, especially those who lead a sedentary life during the week and overdo on their days off—the “weekend warriors.”

Plantar fasciitis is a sort of catch-all diagnosis that is often given to a variety of aches and pains in the heel, but this inflammation of the plantar fascia may not be the true cause of your discomfort at all. You might instead have an entrapped nerve, a bruise, a stress fracture, or a number of other possible reasons your heels hurt.

What do you do for the pain? We know you don’t want to hear it, but you may have to give up your sport for a time, or at least cut back. As with many sports injuries, if you don’t rest your foot, the problem will just continue to get worse. Your body needs that down time without additional trauma so the cells can repair themselves and become functional again.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be active at all. You may be able to find other methods of getting your cardio rush, such as swimming, biking, using the elliptical machine, and so on. You can also initiate a thorough stretching routine to limber up your muscles and exercises to make them stronger. (Your calf and hamstring muscles especially will cause problems in your heel if they are too tight.) Other conservative treatments such as icing, massage, and elevating the foot can help with swelling and pain.

The most important thing is to get a clear idea of what is causing your sore heels. We can provide just that. We have advanced tools for accurate diagnosis, and offer the latest treatment technologies (like ultrasound, laser and shockwave therapy for pain) along with more conventional physical therapy, stretching, custom orthotics, and more.

Call Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston at (281) 497-2850 to set up your appointment, so we can help you speed up your healing time and get back in the game. You can also ask for your copy of our free book—When Your Heels Hurt...You Hurt All Over!—by phone or by filling out this form.

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