When to See a Specialist for Heel Pain

When to See a Specialist for Heel Pain

Heel pain might come and go. Because it can come from so many different causes, it can be tricky to know if you’re dealing with something that will heal on its own or if you need treatment. 

In most cases, you can wait a week to see if it improves. If your heel pain seems to be sticking around, though, it’s probably time to talk to a podiatrist about it. 

We’re here at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center  to help with any discomfort you’ve been feeling. As a heel pain specialist, William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, can evaluate what’s going on with your heel, diagnose your condition, and give you the treatment you need to get relief, all from our office in Wexford, Pennsylvania. 

Signs you should see a doctor right away

In many cases, you can wait at home to see if your heel will heal on its own. That said, you should make an appointment as soon as possible if:

  • You’re unable to point your foot downward or upward
  • You have heel pain right after an injury
  • Your heel noticeable swells and your pain is severe
  • You have tingling or numbness in your heel
  • The pain persists even when you have no weight on the affected foot


Because all of these could indicate a serious issue with your heel, they warrant immediate medical attention. 

How to monitor heel pain at home

When you first notice pain in your heel, assuming the above conditions don’t apply, you can keep an eye on it to see if it improves on its own. 

Make arrangements to stay off the heel as much as possible. The RICE protocol — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — can all help with the issue. If a tendon in your heel is inflamed, for example, these at-home treatments can all ease the swelling. Many sources of heel pain — like Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis — stem from inflammation. 

Keep an eye on your pain level. If it will heal on its own, it should improve gradually. By the end of your first week of at-home care, you should have less pain than you began with. 

If your heel pain doesn’t seem to be improving even with ample rest, schedule an appointment with Dr. DeCarbo. 

Getting relief from your heel pain

When you visit our office, Dr. DeCarbo evaluates your heel and asks you about any symptoms you’re experiencing. In some cases, he may use additional diagnostic tools, like an X-ray, to find out what’s going on. 

Once Dr. DeCarbo identifies the cause of your heel pain, he tailors treatment to you. That might include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Custom orthotics 
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretches
  • Taping

If your heel pain isn’t improving or you have signs of a serious heel issue, call our office or book your appointment online as soon as possible.