Heel Pain Causes, Prevention and Treatment
Heel pain is one of the most common types of foot pain, and it can be caused by several conditions or stressors. The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and the first to hit the ground while moving, inviting a lot of stress to the heel area. Heel pain generally develops as a result of an incorrect walking gait that puts too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues attached to it.
Most common in active people 40 years old and older, heel pain often becomes more severe when there is an irritation in the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot to the heel (plantar fascia). This can cause heel pain to occur in the front, back or bottom of the heel. Most people experience heel pain due to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, heel spurs or an injury.
Children's heel pain has different causes than adult heel pain. If you're interested in learning about children's heel pain, please visit our Sever's disease page.
Causes of Heel Pain
One of the most common reasons for heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation and strain to the plantar fascia (the ligament that runs from the toe joints to the heel). Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which creates pain at the back of the heel. A heel spur is an abnormal bone growth that occurs on the heel bone where an injury or inflammation takes place.
Heel pain could also occur from an injury, feet repeatedly putting pressure on hard surfaces or being overweight. The added stress on the feet in these situations causes heel pain to worsen over time.
How to Prevent Heel Pain
Wearing the correct footwear can be one of the most effective ways to prevent heel pain. Orthopedic shoes with a shock-absorbing sole will protect the heel bone against injuries from hard surfaces. If one of your causes for heel pain is incorrect pronation, be sure to wear arch supporting insoles and supportive shoes to correct your gait and to reduce stress on your plantar fascia.
Properly caring for your muscles and ligaments can also help to prevent heel pain. Properly stretch your calves, Achilles tendon and plantar fascia ligament in your feet to reduce the risk of inflammation. Partaking in minor foot exercises regularly from the Aligned and Well Fix Your Feet DVD can help prevent future foot conditions or pain. You should also avoid excessive strain on your feet from extended periods of standing, walking or running and rest your feet when necessary. If you feel heel pain, rest the injured foot and use ice or anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling.
Treatment for Heel Pain
The best way to prevent and treat heel pain is by wearing supportive and cushioning shoes and insoles. Insoles can be worn to support and cushion the feet while preventing incorrect pronation, which can eventually cause pain. Heel lifts will reduce the strain on the Achilles tendon, and heel cushions will soften the step for aching heels.
At Healthy Feet Store, we offer a wide variety of high-quality, effective orthopedic footwear and accessories for those suffering from heel pain. Use our doctor-recommended products to support your arch and foot to reduce heel pain, or use our wound care products to protect your heel from stressors. If you are experiencing heel pain, have your foot evaluated by a podiatrist to learn more about heel pain causes and remedies.