What is heel pain?
Heel pain can present itself in various forms.
- Plantar fasciitis: inflammation and pain of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone with the base of the toes. When the plantar fascia is overworked and stressed, heel pain can occur.
- Heel spur: a bony protrusion that forms where the fascia tissue connects to the heel bone. This condition is most prevalent in people who engage in long term high impact activities such as running or jogging which will eventually wear out the plantar fascia.
- Bursitis: inflammation of the bursa sac that surrounds the heel joint. Pain at the back of the heel or underneath it may present. Structural foot problems can affect a person’s gait which can lead to inflammation.
- Heel injury: if the heel is subject to an injury pain, even a minor and unintentional one, swelling and inflammation can occur.
- Achilles tendonitis: inflammation, irritation or degeneration of the Achilles tendon, a large band of fibrous tissue that stretches along the calf muscle to the heel bone can lead to heel pain. Achilles tendonitis usually occurs with repetitive stress and when it is overused.
- Trapped heel nerve: when the nerve at the back of the heel is pinched, pain, numbness and tingling can occur. This is mostly attributed to a sprain or wearing ill-fitting shoes that do not cushion and protect the heel.
Heel Pain treatment
- Shoes. Regardless of which type of heel pain you experience, one crucial element to treating heel pain is wearing proper shoes. Whether you are looking for shoes for heel pain or sandals for heel pain, they need to be designed with the following features:
- Biomechanical orthotic insoles that support the arch, align the body and prevent excessive pronation. This helps alleviate strain on the plantar fascia and the heel.
- Contoured heel cup to hug the foot.
- Thick padding under the heel to protect and cushion the fat pad.
- Light weight ergonomic sole with mild rocker bottom to propel the foot forward and facilitate foot motion.
- Multilayer midsole with soft cushioning to absorb shock forces and reduce impacts on the heel.
- Plantar fasciitis treatment includes rest, reducing or discontinuing physical activity that causes the pain, ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, cortisone injections, immobilization boot or surgery in severe cases.
- Heel spur treatment includes rest, ice, stretching, taping the stressed muscles, physical therapy, cortisone injections, night splints and surgery as a last resort.
- Bursitis treatment includes stretching, ice, rest, physical therapy, cortisone injections, night splints and surgery as a last resort.
- Treatment for an injured heel includes icing the bruised area and protecting the it from further injury bu wearing socks or footwear with a padded heel.
- Achilles tendonitis treatment includes rest, ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and stretching.
- Trapped heel nerve treatment includes wearing supportive footwear that does not pinch the heel. If the trapped nerve is a result of a sprain or fracture, this needs to be resolved first.