Heel Pain Overview
Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems affecting adults of all ages. The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the foot. As the first part of the foot to make contact when walking, it is not surprising that the heel sustains undue stress.
This stress can be the result of an injury, bruising from walking, running, or other activities, wearing improper footwear, and possibly from being overweight. Heel pain is typically the result of abnormalities in the biomechanics of the feet. The two structures associated with heel pain are the plantar fascia, a band of fibrous connective tissue, and the flexor digitorum brevis muscle, which supports the arch and flexes the four small toes.
Generally the foot functions by absorbing the weight of the body and the arch of the foot flattens. The plantar fascia and the flexor digitorum brevis muscle stabilize the foot and sustain the arch. Inflammation and pain to the surrounding structures of the heel are a direct result of gait abnormalities.
Heel pain is most prevalent in active people, those over the age of forty, those who are overweight, woman, and those who wear poorly fitting footwear. The diagnosis for the cause of heel pain may involve a through history of symptoms, a physical examination, and imaging tests such as x-rays or ultrasound. Once a diagnosis is made regarding the cause of the heel pain, a treatment plan will be implemented.