Heel Pain – All You Need to Know
The heel is the largest bone that you have in your foot and it is the first bone that gets loaded with each step that you take. There are various injuries that can cause heel pain. Each one can hamper your ability to walk. In this article, we are going to discuss what causes them, how to treat them, and how to prevent them.
Common conditions causing heel pain
These are some of the common conditions that cause heel pain:
- Plantar fasciitis – This is a common condition that means your heel bone is inflamed due to too much pressure being applied on it from being pulled by the plantar fascia ligament.
- Achilles Tendonitis – This is an inflammation of the tendon that connects your calves with your foot. Again, this is caused by too much pressure being applied to the heel bone which causes heel pain with each step you take.
- Bursitis – Bursae are fluid-filled sacs found about your joints. They surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones. They can get inflamed due to impact of overuse. This leads to heel pain when you walk or exert during sports.
- Stress fractures – this occurs due to overuse and chronic tightness in the calves combined with high impact activities.
- Hee spurs – This is usually a more advanced condition that is due to plantar fasciitis or achilles tendon that is left untreated for a long time. The chronic pulling force on their insertion can cause a bone spur to grow and it can cause heel pain when walking.
Treatment of heel pain
Most of us would not know the exact cause of our heel pain immediately. If you develop heel pain, you can try these steps to try to reduce them:
- Wear proper fitting shoes
- Use heel inserts
- Rest as much as possible
If these home remedies don’t work, see a doctor immediately to find out what the exact cause of your condition is. A physical exam and X-ray will usually determine the cause of your pain. In many cases, your doctor may refer you to physiotherapy to get your foot and ankle strengthened or a podiatrist to get you a special footwear. In rare and more serious cases, your doctor may suggest surgery.
How do I prevent it?
As I have mentioned earlier in this article, many of the causes of heel pain is overuse and overloading of various structures in the foot and ankle area. Therefore, to prevent it, we need to minimise the overuse and overloading. Here are some strategies:
- Wear shoes that fit properly and support the foot.
- Wear the right shoes for physical activity.
- Stretch your muscles before exercising.
- Pace yourself during physical activity.
- Rest when you feel tired or when your muscles ache.
- Last but not least, maintain a healthy weight.