Heel Pain Causes and Treatment
Heel pain is not usually caused by a single injury, such as a twist or fall, but from repetitive stress and pounding of the heel. Common causes include:
The plantar fascia is a strong bowstring-like ligament that runs from the calcaneum (heel bone) to the tip of the foot.
When the plantar fascia is stretched too far, its soft tissue fibres become inflamed. This usually happens where it attaches to the heel bone, but sometimes it affects the middle of the foot. Pain is felt under the foot, especially after long periods of rest. Calf-muscle cramps may occur if the Achilles tendon tightens too.
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Inflammation can occur at the back of the heel, in the bursa, a fibrous sac full of fluid. It can result from landing awkwardly or hard on the heels or from pressure from footwear. Pain may be felt deep inside the heel or at the back of the heel. Sometimes, the Achilles tendon may swell. As the day progresses, the pain usually gets worse.
Also known as pump bumps, these are common in teenagers. The heel bone is not yet fully mature, and it rubs excessively, resulting in the formation of too much bone. It is often caused by having a flat foot. It can be caused by starting to wear high heels before the bone is fully mature.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
A large nerve in the back of the foot becomes pinched or entrapped (compressed). This is a type of compression neuropathy that can occur either in the ankle or foot.
Chronic inflammation of the heel pad
This is caused either by the heel pad becoming too thin or through heavy footsteps.
This is linked to repetitive stress, strenuous exercise, sports, or heavy manual work. Runners are particularly prone to a stress fracture in the metatarsal bones of the foot. It can also be caused by osteoporosis.
This is the most common cause of heel pain in child and teenage athletes, caused by overuse and repetitive microtrauma of the growth plates of the heel bone. It most commonly affects children aged 7 to 15 years.
This is also known as degenerative tendinopathy, tendonitis, tendinosis, and tendinopathy. It is a chronic condition associated with the progressive degeneration of the Achilles tendon.
Treatment options include:
-Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain and swelling.
-Physical therapy can teach exercises that stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and -strengthen the lower leg muscles, resulting in better stabilization of the ankle and heel.
-Athletic taping gives the bottom of the foot better support.-Orthotics, or assistive devices, and insoles can help correct foot faults and cushion and support the arch during the healing process.