Heel Pain

Heel Pain

Heel pain is a common type of foot pain, as the heel bone is the largest bone in the foot. Most heel pain is a result of walking or standing improperly, putting intense pressure on the heel of the foot as opposed to dispersing weight evenly.  Heel pain is often worsened by wearing improperly fitting or unsupportive shoes. Repetitive stress injuries, injuries from trauma, and the development of certain conditions may also cause heel pain.
Are you tired of waking up with heel pain in the morning?

Have you failed multiple treatments and still having heel pain?

You may have Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendinitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Man with foot painPlantar fasciitis is the most common type of heel pain. People with heel pain typically report a sharp pain under their heel that may spread into the arch of the foot. The pain is often worse when the person stands after lying down or following a period of sitting—for example, taking the first couple of steps in the morning or standing up after watching TV.  Although the pain may decrease with activity, such as walking, it tends to return at the end of the day. Plantar fasciitis is not typically the result of an injury. Instead, this condition usually develops gradually and, if untreated, may get worse over time. By current estimates, 2 million Americans develop heel pain each year, and about 10% of all people will have heel pain at some point in their lives.  Click here for more information about Plantar Fasciitis

What is Achilles tendinitis?

Woman holding ankles while standingAchilles tendinitis is a common condition that causes pain along the back of the leg near the heel.  The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body. It connects your calf muscles to your heel bone and is used when you walk, run, and jump.  Although the Achilles tendon can withstand great stresses from running and jumping, it is also prone to tendinitis, a condition associated with overuse and degeneration (so the correct term is tendinopathy).  Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis, including: having tight calf muscles or suddenly increasing an activity too much.  Click here for more information about Achilles Tendinitis.

Heel Pain Symptoms

Assessing the symptoms of heel pain may be helpful in diagnosing the cause of heel pain. Symptoms that may accompany heel pain such as stiffness, inflammation, or redness may help physicians to discern the cause of pain and determine treatment methods. Differences in the severity and placement of the pain itself may also assist in determining the reason for the heel pain.

Differences in heel pain that may assist in diagnosis include:

  • Sharpness of the heel pain
  • Area of the heel that is affected
  • Sensation associated with the pain, such as burning or tingling
  • Whether the pain worsens with activity
  • Whether the pain worsens at certain times of day
  • Whether other areas of the body are painful

Heel Pain Causes
Conditions and injuries which may also cause heel pain include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Heel spurs
  • Broken bones
  • Bone bruises
  • Haglund’s deformity
  • Injured nerves
  • Sprained ankle
  • Painful calluses or corns

Heel Pain Prevention

In many cases, heel pain is preventable. Wearing properly fitting and supportive shoes is among the best ways to prevent conditions and injuries which may cause intense heel pain. Mild heel pain that has been caused by trauma or overuse may be treated with cold or warm compresses to prevent conditions from developing. If pain becomes severe, or other symptoms develop, patients should seek medical treatment.

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Sources:

“Heel Pain.” American Podiatric Medical Association. American Podiatric Medical Association, n.d. Web. 16 Mar 2014. <http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=985>.

“Heel Pain.” Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 26 Feb 2014. Web. 16 Mar 2014. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003181.htm>.