Heel pain can really put a cramp in your step, please forgive the pun. The heel bone is the largest bone in your foot and with hundreds of tendons, over thirty joints and plenty of ligaments and smaller bones, there are plenty of ways that heel pain can occur. There are plenty of causes for heel pain and there are many things that can increase your chances of developing heel pain or a heel condition. Read on for a look at some of the ways to reduce your risk of heel pain, and how you can treat your pain should you fall prey to it.
What Causes Heel Pain
Heel pain can be caused by a variety of different things. Some of the things that can cause your heel to sear in pain include:
- Wearing shoes with little structure or support such as worn down tennis shoes, sandals or flip flops
- An improper walking gait can cause severe heel pain
- Obesity can cause additional stress on your feet and ankles
- Athletes and adults who participate in sports and athletic events may be more prone to heel pain as well
This list is not all-encompassing. There are many possibile reasons why you may be experiencing heel pain. It is important that you consult your physician to determine that source of your pain so that you may come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
There are many conditions that could be the cause of your heel pain. They include:
- Heel spurs- Heel spurs are a bony growth under the heel bone and can be extremely painful. This condition can be caused by obesity, biochemical imbalance, wearing poorly fitted shoes or excessive running and jogging.
- Plantar Fasciitis- Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. This is a common injury with athletes.
- Achilles Tendinitis- Achilles Tendinitis occurs with the achilles tendon is strained over time. You may feel severe pain at the back of your heel and it can lead to tears and inflammation.
- Excessive Pronation- Heel pain can result from excessive pronation or movement of the heel joints.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis- This condition can make it painful to move your heel joints, walk and run
- Inflamed Bursa- An inflamed bursa, which is a irritated sac of fluid can cause heel pain
- Hagalund’s Deformity- Hagalund’s Deformity is a bone enlargement at the back of the heel
When To Seek Medical Treatment
If your heel pain persists or you experience symptoms of inflammation, swelling or redness, it is important to contact your podiatrist so that they can diagnose and treat your symptoms. Not all heel pain will require surgery. Sometimes physical therapy, a brace or pain medication is the better option. Rather than suffer with the pain, it is important that you seek the professional advice of your physician before the problem escalates into something more serious.
How to Prevent Heel Pain and Injuries
Heel pain can be prevented in a number of ways including:
- Wear shoe insoles that are well fitted and have supportive heels
- Wear appropriate shoes for exercising and sports
- Do not wear shoes that have excessive wear
- Stretch properly before exercise
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Don’t over exert yourself during exercise or physical activity
- Be sure to give your body adequate rest during physical activity
The Bottom Line
Heel pain can make getting around very difficult. It is important that you do what you can to prevent heel and foot pain. If you experience any pain, don’t be afraid to consult your podiatrist to see if they can recommend a treatment plan for you.