Causes of Heel Pain
Heel pain is typically caused by stress to the structures that support the heel bone.
The most common cause of heel pain is from Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is caused from inflammation to the plantar fascia, a band of fibrous connective tissue running along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot.
When the plantar fascia is continually stretched past its normal extension, tears in the fiber occur. The result is pain, inflammation, and possibly bone spurs.
Pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis may disappear as you perform normal activities only to reappear with rest.
The pain may also be profound with strenuous exercise compared to moderate exercise. Aggravation to the area may occur with improperly fitted footwear and from chronic irritation due to an overly athletic lifestyle.
Not all heel pain is caused by Plantar Fasciitis. Achilles tendonitis can cause pain in the back of the heel. This condition occurs when the tendon that runs from behind the ankle and connects at the back of the heel is strained causing tears along its length. The result is pain, inflammation, and possibly the development of a heel spur.
A Heel spur is a bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. Visible by x-ray, a heel spur is typically a by product of the strain placed on the muscles and ligaments of the foot.
Bursitis, arthritis, stress fractures, a neuroma, a bone bruise, and Haglunds' Deformity can all cause pain in the heel as well. Excessive pronation of the foot can cause abnormal stretching and pulling of the ligaments and tendons attached to the heel bone resulting in pain. Excessive pronation can also lead to problems with the knees, hips, and possibly the lower back if not cared for.
Heel pain should be addressed by a podiatric doctor immediately. Pain is the body's way of alerting us to damage and to seek medical attention. A Podiatrist is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat pain associated with the heel. They can provide you with a variety of treatment options as well as valuable information and education to prevent future pain to the heel and foot.