Heel Pain

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Definition

What is heel pain?

Your foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons. The heel is the largest bone in your foot. If you overuse or injure your heel, you may experience heel pain. This can range from mild to disabling. Heel pain usually affects the underside or back of your heel. Although heel pain is rarely a symptom of a serious condition, it can interfere with your normal activities, particularly exercise.

How common is heel pain?

Heel pain is quite common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can heel pain usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Difficulty walking

Causes

What causes heel pain?

Causes of heel pain can include:

  • Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when too much pressure on your feet damages the plantar fascia ligament, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Sprains and strains. Sprains and strains are injuries to the body, often resulting from physical activity. These injuries are common and can range from minor to severe, depending on the incident.
  • A fracture is a broken bone. This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.
  • Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel becomes painful or inflamed due to overuse injuries.
  • Bursae are fluid-filled sacs found about your joints. They surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis. This form of arthritis primarily affects your spine. It causes severe inflammation of the vertebrae that might eventually lead to chronic pain and disability.
  • These disorders directly affect the growth of bones in children and adolescents.
  • Reactive arthritis. An infection in the body triggers this is a type of arthritis.

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of heel pain. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for heel pain?

There are many risk factors for heel pain, such as:

  • Misalignments caused by abnormalities in the structure of the feet
  • Engaging in strenuous exercise (especially repetitive jumping and running)
  • Obesity
  • Standing for prolonged periods
  • Wearing shoes that do not fit properly

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one has any of the following:

  • Severe pain and swelling near your heel
  • Inability to bend your foot downward, rise on your toes or walk normally
  • Heel pain with fever, numbness or tingling in your heel
  • Severe heel pain immediately after an injury
  • Heel pain that continues when you’re not walking or standing
  • Heel pain that lasts more than a few weeks, even after you’ve tried rest, ice and other home treatments

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage heel pain?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with heel pain:

Rest as much as possible.

  • Apply ice to the heel for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly.
  • Wear a night splint, a special device that stretches the foot while you sleep.
  • Use heel lifts or shoe inserts to reduce pain.

It may not be possible to prevent all cases of heel pain, yet there are some easy steps that you can take to avoid injury to the heel and prevent pain:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly and support the foot.
  • Wear the right shoes for physical activity.
  • Stretch your muscles before exercising.
  • Pace yourself during physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Rest when you feel tired or when your muscles ache.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 11, 2019 | Last Modified: January 11, 2019

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