Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX

5 Common Causes of Heel Pain

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5 Common Causes of Heel Pain

Millions of Americans deal with foot ailments, and problems with your heels in particular can make walking difficult. There are many causes of heel pain, but fortunately there are also many ways to treat them. Read on to find out more.

We use our feet a lot, and over a lifetime we can expect to walk over 100,000 miles on average. But because we use them so much, they are prone to injury, with 80% of American adults dealing with some sort of foot problem in their lives; but only two in ten people actually think about the health of their feet. Much like the rest of your foot, the heel is also prone to injury. This is the back part that, along with the arch, allows you to evenly distribute force exerted on your feet, which is particularly handy on uneven ground.

Pain in your heel can be an indication of many different podiatric problems, and with 2 million Americans struggling with it annually, you should make it a priority to manage it when it happens. To better understand the common causes of this kind of pain, let’s examine them and how they are treated.

If you live in the Fort Worth or Weatherford, Texas area, and you’re dealing with heel pain, Drs. Gary Driver, Glen Beede, Gregory Jaryga, and the dedicated medical team at Trinity Foot & Ankle Specialists can help.

Causes of heel pain

The pain you experience in your heel can present in different ways: at the bottom of the heel, on the Achilles tendon, or on the side of the foot. I can begin with a mild pain and worsen over time, depending on the cause. Here are some common conditions that lead to heel pain:

  1. Achilles tendonitis

Overuse injuries are common for foot injuries, and this is one common to runners and other active people (especially as they reach middle age). The Achilles tendon is the tissue band that connects the muscles in your calf to the heel bone in your foot, and several problems can lead to it, including physical problems, medical conditions, bad training choices, and even some medications.

  1. Bursitis

Your joints have fluid filled sacs called bursae that provide lubrication to make movement easier, and this condition is what happens when those sacs become inflamed, also known as retrocalcaneal bursitis. This can be chronic or acute, and can be caused by joint trauma or infection.

  1. Heel spur

This is a kind of bone spur that grows and pokes out of the bottom of your heel, which develops over time. They are the result of stress your body puts on the ligaments and tendons of your foot, but can also be caused by a gait disorder or repeated tearing of the covering lining your heel bone.

  1. Stress fractures

Also referred to as a calcaneal stress fracture, these are tiny breaks in your heel that form from long term repetitive motions. Athletes are more likely to deal with it, but it can happen to any active person.

  1. Plantar fasciitis

A very common condition where your plantar fascia (the weblike, thick ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot) becomes inflamed, leading to stiffness and heel pain.

Methods of treatment

These conditions are managed in a variety of ways, including steroid injections, orthotic devices, pain relievers, stretching exercises, physical therapy, and use of athletic or medical tape. Each of these methods focus on relieving pain, inflammation, and stress on your heel, and allow for better movement and flexibility.

You can work to avoid these injuries by keeping the tendons and ligaments in your feet flexible with use of stretching, properly fitting supportive shoes, and running fewer miles on softer surfaces. Home methods of treating heel pain include icing the injury, using foot supports, proper footwear, and getting plenty of rest so your injuries can heal. 

Heel pain can come from many different problems, but whatever is causing it, we can help. Make an appointment with Drs. Driver, Beede, Jaryga and the team at Trinity Foot & Ankle Specialists today to be free of this pain.