The Many Causes of Heel Pain
Painful heels can result from a number of issues. Excessive weight can flatten the fat pad on the bottom of your heel and place too much pressure upon it. Overuse and repetitive stress, due to running long distances, for instance, can cause heel pain, too. Improper footwear that doesn’t provide enough cushion in the heel and poor training techniques that make you prone to injury can both lead to problems with your heels, as well. Still, certain conditions can also be behind your troubles. Some of the most common culprits of heel pain include:
Achilles Tendinitis – too much stress on your Achilles can cause inflammation and soreness that aggravates your heel.
Plantar Fasciitis – the most common cause of heel pain, this occurs when the band of tissues that spans your arch becomes injured and inflamed, pulling on your heel bone. The more it pulls, the more likely heel spurs will form and add to the problem!
Haglund’s Deformity (pump bump) – pressure against the back of your heel can cause bursitis to set in and a swollen bump to form. This is often associated with high-heeled pumps, as well as skates, hiking boots, and other footwear with rigid backs.
Sever’s Disease – while plantar fasciitis is the most common culprit in adults, Sever’s disease is the usual suspect in teens. This occurs during spurts of growth when the Achilles reaches maturity at a faster rate than the heel bone, thus tightly pulling on it until it catches up.
Heel Fissures – these deep cracks in the heels occur due to calluses that form, and these dry patches splitting under pressure. Fissures can bleed and become infected, making them not only painful, but dangerous for those with diabetes.
Heel Pain Treatment and Prevention
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, treatment can range from a simple switch in shoes to, in rare cases, a surgical procedure. Most times, however, conservative measures are all it takes to find relief. Besides a pair of well-cushioned and supportive shoes, custom orthotics can help distribute weight evenly, take pressure off your heel, and correct any structural or biomechanical issues accentuating your problem. Ice and stretching exercises can help as well, as can innovative, regenerative medicine like PRP injections and Amniofix, both of which stimulate the healing process.
Of course, preventing heel pain in the first place is the most ideal option! Make sure your shoes fit and are appropriate for your activity. Wear your orthotics and always adequately warm up before working out. Gradually build upon your fitness routine, and cross-train to give yourself a break from repetitive stress. Maintain a healthy weight, and give your body some downtime to allow it to rest!
For more help with heel pain, just give us a call in Troy or Clifton Park, NY by dialing (518) 273-0053. You can even request a free copy of our book full of helpful information on managing painful heels.