Heel pain is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, overuse, and underlying medical conditions. Learn about the causes, treatments, shoe/insert accommodations, and recommended shoe styles for heel pain.
Heel pain is characterized by pain in the heel, which can be sharp, stabbing, or dull. The pain may be worse in the morning or after standing for long periods of time. Heel pain can make it difficult to walk or run.
Heel pain is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Plantar fasciitis: This is the most common causes of heel pain. It is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes.
- Achilles tendinitis: This is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the thick tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
- Stress fractures: These are small cracks in the bones of the foot. They can be caused by overuse or sudden impact.
- Sever's disease: This is a condition that affects children and adolescents. It is caused by inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone.
- Heel spur: This is a bony protrusion that forms on the heel bone. It is not always painful, but it can cause pain in some people.
There are many treatments for heel pain, including:
- Rest: This is the most important treatment for heel pain. Avoiding activities that aggravate the pain will help it to heal.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Compression: Compressing the affected area with an elastic bandage can help to reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Elevating the affected area above the heart can help to reduce swelling and pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles in the foot and leg, which can help to reduce pain and improve function.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to relieve pain. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation.
- Surgery: Surgery is rarely necessary for heel pain. It may be considered in cases that do not respond to other treatments.
If you are experiencing heel pain, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment. With proper treatment, most people with heel pain can get relief and return to their normal activities. Here are some additional tips to help prevent heel pain:
- Wear supportive shoes: Shoes that provide good arch support and cushioning can help to prevent heel pain.
- Stretch your feet and legs regularly: Stretching can help to keep the muscles and tendons in your feet and legs flexible, which can help to prevent heel pain.
- Lose weight: If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help to reduce stress on your feet and heels, which can help to prevent heel pain.
- Avoid standing or walking for long periods of time: If you must stand or walk for long periods of time, take breaks to rest your feet.
- Elevate your feet when you are sitting or lying down: Elevating your feet can help to reduce swelling and pain.
Here are some shoe accommodations that can help with heel pain:
- Arch support: Shoes with good arch support can help to reduce stress on the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. This is the most common cause of heel pain.
- Cushioning: Shoes with good cushioning can help to absorb shock and reduce stress on the heel bones.
- Wide width: Shoes that are too narrow can put pressure on the sides of the feet, which can lead to pain. All Anodyne orthopedic shoes come in medium, wide, and extra-wide widths.
- Extra depth: Shoes that are too shallow can cause the toes to curl, which can also lead to pain.
- Arch support: Arch support can help provide support and alignment to the foot, which can help to reduce stress on the heel.
- Offload Heels: Alleviating the area of pain in the heel with offloading provides extra cushion while in motion.
If you are unsure about whether or not your symptoms require medical attention, please consult your foot doctor.