Dealing with any type of foot pain can be downright debilitating, especially foot pain in your heel. The feet are what anchor and carry your entire body from point A to point B. Foot pain can not only prevent you from getting from one place to another, but can make standing for long periods of time difficult and may even compromise your mobility or quality of life.
Chronic heel pain is typically caused by a handful of common factors which luckily can be addressed without invasive treatment. Don’t miss this quick essential guide to heel pain:
This fairly common foot ailment is often caused by the overuse of ligaments (the plantar fascia tissue) in the bottom of the feet. Athletes and very active individuals may be more predisposed to this injury because of the constant and perpetual use of their feet in running, walking, jumping, etc.
This type of physical activity combined with poor body mechanics or ill-fitting shoes can lead to searing heel and arch pain, especially with your first steps out of bed in the morning. You can treat existing plantar fasciitis by applying ice to the bottom of the foot, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, and updating your footwear with a well fitting heel insole or heel pad.
Correcting your posture for the sake of your heels is especially important if you stand for long periods of time throughout the day. If you have a job where you’re always on your feet (i.e. teacher, retail worker, nurse, etc), you may forget to routinely check-in with your body and how you’re feeling.
If you are not using proper posture, it’s likely that your body weight is unevenly distributed by your feet. If this happens, especially over an extended period, the tissue will start to become strained in the arch and heel. This can cause pain and sensitivity that may make doing your job exponentially more difficult. Invest in proper-fitting shoes with little to no heel that offers your foot cushioning, arch support, and good ankle stability. Work on resting your weight on the balls of your feet and don’t put so much emphasis or pressure on your heel.
Achilles tendonitis causes an aching pain that is experienced in the back of the bottom of the leg, near the Achilles heel and just above the heel itself. This happens when the connecting bit of tissue that runs from the heel bone to the calf muscle experiences some type of extreme or continual strain.
When this tendon is injured, as is most often seen in runners, it can cause pain in the heel. Age can sometimes also be a factor in suffering from this type of microscopic harm that may result in heel pain. Well-fitting footwear, as well as routine stretching of the calves, can help prevent Achilles tendonitis as can avoiding drastic increases in running mileage or terrain changes.
This typically appears in tandem with plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs will form when there is an excessive calcium build up directly on the heel bone. Many believe that the reason a heel spur tends to occur alongside the presence of plantar fasciitis is it’s the body’s way of providing it additional calcium to help and support the tissue and ligaments compromised by plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs can also be the result of walking with a gait that is altered or irregular. Heel spurs cause discomfort and pain when the spur presses down into the padding of the heel with each new step taken.