Heel pain is common and can be due to a number of conditions. The calcaneus (heel bone) is the largest bone in the foot and is the first to hit the ground when walking. The heel bone is designed to
be the first contact the foot has with the ground. The achilles tendon inserts into the back of the heel bone (calcaneus) and a very strong ligament along the bottom of the foot attaches to the
bottom of the heel bone (the plantar fascia). Several small muscles also attach to the heel bone above the insertion of the plantar fascia. Given the forces of walking that the heel bone is subjected
to and the pull of all these ligaments and muscles, then it is not surprising that Heel
is so common.
Heel pain has a number of causes that are typically associated with overuse of the heel bone. You can strain your heel by pounding your feet on hard surfaces, being overweight, or wearing shoes that
do not fit properly. These strains can irritate the heel?s bones, muscles, or tendons. Other common causes of heel pain include the following. Heel Spurs. Heel spurs develop when the lining that
covers the heel is continuously stretched. When this occurs, pieces of the lining may break off. Heel spurs typically develop in athletes who frequently run or jog. They are also common in people who
are obese. Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis develops when the tissue connecting the heel to the ball of the foot becomes inflamed. Plantar fasciitis also occurs in athletes who frequently run or
jog. It can also result from wearing shoes that do not fit properly. Excessive Pronation. Excessive pronation occurs when the ligaments and tendons at the back of the heel are stretched too much.
This condition can occur when injuries to the back, hips, or knees change the way you walk. Achilles Tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis can occur when the Achilles tendon, which runs along the back of
the heel, becomes inflamed. This condition is common in people with active lifestyles who frequently run and jog, professional athletes and dancers.
Initially, this pain may only be present when first standing up after sleeping or sitting. As you walk around, the muscle and tendon loosen and the pain goes away. As this problem progresses, the
pain can be present with all standing and walking. You may notice a knot or bump on the back of the heel. Swelling may develop. In some cases, pressure from the back of the shoe causes pain.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as have you had this type of heel pain before? When did your pain begin? Do you have pain upon
your first steps in the morning or after your first steps after rest? Is the pain dull and aching or sharp and stabbing? Is it worse after exercise? Is it worse when standing? Did you fall or twist
your ankle recently? Are you a runner? If so, how far and how often do you run? Do you walk or stand for long periods of time? What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you have any other symptoms? Your
doctor may order a foot x-ray. You may need to see a physical therapist to learn exercises to stretch and strengthen your foot. Your doctor may recommend a night splint to help stretch your foot.
Surgery may be recommended in some cases.
Non Surgical Treatment
There are a number of treatments that can help relieve heel pain and speed up your recovery. These include resting your heel, try to avoid walking long distances and standing for long periods,
regular stretching, stretching your calf muscles and plantar fascia, pain relief, using an icepack on the affected heel and taking painkillers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
wearing good-fitting shoes that support and cushion your foot, running shoes are particularly useful, using supportive devices such as orthoses (rigid supports that are put inside the shoe) or
strapping. Around four out of five cases of heel pain resolve within a year. However, having heel pain for this length of time can often be frustrating and painful. In around one in 20 cases, the
above treatments are not enough, and surgery may be recommended to release the plantar fascia.
With the advancements in technology and treatments, if you do need to have surgery for the heel, it is very minimal incision that?s done. And the nice thing is your recovery period is short and you
should be able to bear weight right after the surgery. This means you can get back to your weekly routine in just a few weeks. Recovery is a lot different than it used to be and a lot of it is
because of doing a minimal incision and decreasing trauma to soft tissues, as well as even the bone. So if you need surgery, then your recovery period is pretty quick.
Wear properly fitting shoes. Place insoles or inserts in your shoes to help control abnormal foot motion. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise and do foot stretches as they have been shown to decrease
the incidence of heel pain.