Heel pain is one of the most common types of pain treated by podiatrists.
The heel is considered the largest bone of all the 26 bones found in the feet of human beings.
The human feet are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than a hundred ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
Just like all the other bones, the heel bone is prone to outside forces like trauma, which can affect the use and functionality of feet.
Pain experienced in the heel can either be at the bottom, top, or front of the heel.
Richard Goldstein, a New York podiatrist says that heel pain can be caused by a number of things such as injuries, bruises, or faulty biomechanics.
Causes of heel pain
Heel pain is caused by a variety of things, such as biomechanics failure, injuries, and bruises.
When excess stress is placed on the heel bone, the soft tissues attached to it are damaged, resulting in pain.
Stress on the heel bone can be due to bruises or injuries on the leg after strenuous activities like jumping, walking, or running on course surfaces.
Wearing inappropriate footwear not suitable for the task at hand, such as running in flip-flops, and being obese or overweight can cause foot injuries.
Heel spurs can also contribute to heel pain.
Heel spurs are bony growths that occur on the heel bone underside.
Heel spurs can only be seen through the use of x-rays, which indicate a protrusion that protrudes more than half an inch forward.
In the absence of bone enlargement, the condition is known as a “heel spur syndrome.”
A heel spur is commonly caused by foot ligament and muscle strain, which can be as a result of excessive straining and stretching of the tissue of the heel.
Continued stretching and straining of the muscles leads to the tearing away of the membrane lining covering the heel.
Heel spurs and heel pain are considered the leading causes of plantar fasciitis.
The inflammation of the fascia characterizes plantar fasciitis.
Fascia is the connective fibrous band of tissue that runs from the bottom part of the foot to the ball of the foot and the heel.
Plantar fasciitis is commonly experienced in sportsmen and athletes who are engaged in a significant amount of jumping and running.
When plantar fasciitis occurs, the individual experiences extreme pain in the foot.
When the plantar fascia is stretched and strained for a long duration of time beyond the normal capacity, the soft fascia fibers eventually tear or develop stretch points, which eventually results in extreme pain, bone spur development, or inflammation.
Wearing shoes that do not provide the heel with adequate support may worsen the inflammation.
Chronic irritation may also be experienced in athletes.
Taking a rest from strenuous activity can temporarily relieve the pain.
Once the normal activities are resumed, there may be some sudden fascia band elongation may be experienced, which in turn results in pulling or stretching of the heel.
During walking, the pain will be reduced and, in some cases, disappear depending on the severity of the injury or bruise, the pain relief is, however, temporary and the pain will be back after using the leg for a while.
It is essential to minimize the weight and pressure applied on the foot.