Tag Archives: Heel

Loose the Heel Pain – and Heal Pain!

The American Podiatric Medical Association conducted a study that found nearly 77% of Americans suffer from heel pain, but only about a third of those people seek expert care to alleviate it. Any sort of pain or discomfort can make day to day activities, well… a real pain. Don’t think pain is normal and you should push through, seeking professional help can get you on the path from heel pain to healed pain!

Achilles Tendinitis

One of the causes of heel pain, especially in runners, is Achilles tendinitis, which results from the overuse and strain of the Achilles tendon. Most commonly caused by repetitive strain on your tendon, the risk for Achilles tendinitis increases with age, higher blood pressure and using worn-out shoes with little support. The most common symptom of Achilles tendinitis is pain on or above the heel. Symptoms typically start gradually with an aching or burning pain that is aggravated by exercise. Some patients might even notice the back of their foot where the tendon runs is warm to touch and slightly enflamed or swollen. Don’t want to worry about Achilles tendinitis? Daily calf stretches, proper shoes and combining low-impact activities into your work out can significantly reduce strain.

Stress Fractures

Stress Fractures are another cause of heel pain.  These are most commonly from repeated excessive stress, but can also come from osteoporosis.  By increasing strain too quickly, the bone does not have time to adapt to the increased pressure and this increased pressure can cause tiny cracks and stress points to form a full break or fracture. Unlike plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis which affect soft tissue and tendons, stress fractures happen in the bones of your foot which means stretching and ‘walking it off’ can actually make your pain worse and cause more damage.

Depending on the severity of your pain and damage, there are a variety of ways podiatrists can help. More often than not, rest is a huge factor in recovering from excessive strain and stress fractures. Our feet are used so often and intensely in our day to day lives, it’s difficult for them to recover while in constant use. Lightening workouts or including low-impact elements as mentioned before can also help for those who simply cannot stay off their feet. As always, prevention is more effective than repair! Proper foot wear, listening when your body says “stop!” and staying hydrated are just a few ways to keep you up and going.

Heel Pain

Heel pain, though rarely indicative of a serious problem, can be a real irritant, because it typically affects the underside or back of your heel and can make regular activities like walking and exercise difficult.

The human foot is made up of over two dozen bones, which absorb the impact of nearly three times our body weight when running, so our feet are very susceptible to the damage that causes heel pain. Typically, this pain is not caused by a single injury, but repeated stress to the bottom of the foot or heel from ill-fitting footwear, stretching of the plantar fascia or bone spurs. Individuals with excessively flat or high-arched feet are much more likely to develop heel and foot problems without properly supportive shoes or sole inserts.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes and occurs when the soft tissue on the bottom of the foot is stretched too far and becomes inflamed, typically near the back of the heel where it is anchored. Patients with this condition also often experience calf and foot cramps. Heel bursitis is another common cause of heel pain caused by the pressure from your shoes, often high heels. This will cause deep pain that feels like it is in inside or at the back of the heel and can even cause the Achilles tendon to swell. Over time, pain increases, especially at the end of the day for individuals who are often on their feet.

Patients can seek a wide variety of treatments for heel pain, depending on the severity of the pain.  Simple remedies usually include icing the affected area, avoid walking around barefoot, and modifications to your shoes to offer better support. For more serious cases, taping your heal or wearing night splints can help restore the foot to its natural state and reduce excessive stretching or further inflammation. In very severe cases that are cause long term permanent damage, you may require treatment through surgery or prescriptions.  However, this is not common and you should seek medical advice before considering the options listed above. For more information on heel pain and how to prevent or treat it see the following articles;