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    Feet. They carry you from here to there every day. But you may not think much about them until they hurt. And when they do, you want relief. To get the right treatment, you need to know the problem. The first thing to consider is where your pain is located.

    Heel Pain

    If your pain is in your heel, you may have plantar fasciitis. That’s an irritation or inflammation of the band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. Usually, it hurts the worst in the morning when you’re getting out of bed. You can feel it in your heel or in your arch.

    To treat it:

    • Rest your foot.
    • Do heel and foot muscle stretches.
    • Take over-the-counter pain relievers.
    • Wear shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole.

    Heel spurs are another source of foot pain. These are abnormal growths of bone on the bottom of your heel. You can get them from wearing the wrong shoes or from an abnormal walk or posture, or even from activities like running. The spurs may hurt while you’re walking or standing. Lots of people have them, but most don’t have pain. People with flat feet or high arches are more likely to have painful heel spurs.

    To treat them:

    • Wear a cutout heel pad.
    • Use a custom-made insert (called an orthotic) worn in the shoe.
    • Wear shoes that fit well and have shock-absorbing soles.
    • Take over-the-counter pain relievers.
    • Rest your foot.
    • Try physical therapy.
    • If you still have pain, ask your doctor about medical procedures.

    A stone bruise is a deep bruise of the fat pad of the heel or ball of the foot. It’s often from an impact injury, but it can also happen after stepping on a hard object. The pain feels like you’re walking on a pebble. It will gradually go away on its own.

    In the meantime:

    • Rest your foot.
    • Ice the area.
    • Take over-the-counter pain relievers.

    A heel fracture is usually a high-impact injury such as from a fall or car accident. Your heel bone may not just break, it could also shatter. Heel pain, bruising, swelling, or trouble walking are the main symptoms.

    To treat it:

    • Don’t put pressure on the heel. You can use crutches.
    • Protect the heel with pads.
    • Wear a splint or cast to protect the heel bone.
    • Ask your doctor about over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers.
    • Try physical therapy.
    • If you’re still in pain, ask your doctor about surgery.
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