Your feet keep you moving and get you going, but as awesome as they are, even they have limits. All the walking, running, and hustling that you do put intense stress on each foot, especially if you are wearing poor-quality shoes that are not absorbing the pounding.
Of all the areas of the foot that take a beating, the heel often gets the brunt of the abuse. Why? While walking, the heel is the first bone to contact the ground, taking on the full weight of your body and the resulting impact and shock of that weight. In many cases, flat feet (a collapsed arch) put undue pressure on your heel and cause a world of pain.
Here are three of the most common heel ailments, and what to do about them:
1. Plantar Fasciitis
Running, jumping, standing for long periods of time, and even walking with poor-quality shoes can put constant pressure on the tissue band that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. The pain will start under your heel, which at first can be mild and barely tolerable, but can intensify to horrific as soon as the next day.
How to deal: special exercises or medication to reduce swelling (ask your doctor), and wearing a shoe that features heel pads and cushioning.
2. Heel Spur
When plantar fasciitis becomes a recurring part of your life, a heel spur may form where the fascia tissue band connects to your heel bone. Another name for this is calcium deposit, which is basically a bony protrusion that could or could not trigger pain. It’s usually a condition that can be treated quickly, and shouldn’t be operated on unless it becomes chronic.
How to deal: stretching exercises, and shoes that contain heel cushioning.
3. Achilles Tendinitis
This happens when you use your Achilles tendon way too much – that’s the band of tissue connecting your calf muscles on the back of your lower leg to your heel bone. How? Often, this injury happens due to a combination of age and sports, commonly known in the culture as weekend warriors.
How to deal: your doctor can recommend some self-care strategies; meanwhile switch to a shoe that offers both full support and cushioning.
Of the 26 bones in your foot, your heel is the largest -- and the most vulnerable. A growing opinion from medical professionals is that wearing high heels and pumps are a huge contributor to heel pain. In particular, flat footwear, such as flip-flops or sandals, could stretch the plantar fascia to the point of dysfunction.
Biomedically engineered footwear like Orthofeet helps relieve pressure and the causes of all of these conditions. They also provide stable arch and heel support to relieve pain. This kind of shoe helps align the lower limbs and cushions your heel against friction, pounding and irritation.