(opens in a new tab) is one of the most common reasons why people seek the care of a podiatrist. There are a number of conditions that trigger heel pain, with the leading cause being plantar fasciitis. This is a condition in which the plantar fascia—the long band of connective tissue spanning the bottom of the foot from heel to toe—becomes inflamed and painful from overuse, improper footwear, or other factors. Pain in the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone, is typically due to overuse and repetitive strain. When the fat pads that cushion the heel bone thin down with age (fat pad atrophy) pain can be felt in the heel. A painful bump or redness at the back of your heel are symptoms of Haglund’s deformity. This condition occurs when a bony enlargement causes inflammation in the soft tissue and bursa sac near the Achilles tendon. Psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation, stiffness, and pain in joints where tendons and ligaments connect with bones, such as the heel. Heel pain may even be a symptom of heel spurs. If you experience any pain, stiffness, or other discomfort in your heel, make an appointment with a podiatrist who can diagnose and treat your condition.
Causes of Heel Pain
Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.
Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.
Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.
Why Might Heel Pain Occur?
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Wearing non-supportive shoes
- Weight change
- Excessive running
Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.
Treatment options for heel pain typically include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which may reduce swelling and pain. Other options are physical therapy, athletic taping, and orthotics. In severe cases of heel pain, surgery may be required.
Preventing heel pain is possible. If you are looking to prevent heel pain from developing in the future, be sure to wear shoes that fit you properly and do not have worn down heels or soles. Be sure to warm up properly before participating in strenuous activities or sports that place a lot of a stress on the heels. If you are experiencing any form of heel pain, speak with your podiatrist to determine the underlying cause and receive the treatment you need.