The dog needs a little treat to perform the tricks he learned. The introvert needs a nudge to reach out and make a new friend. The horse may need a carrot to pull the heavy wagon. Consider this your little spur to finally figure out what is causing your heel pain and do something about it. There is no sense in suffering discomfort day after day if there is something that will take your chronic pain away. You just need us to help you figure out what is causing it.
Two Common Causes of Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis is the most common reason for pain under your heel. It involves the plantar fascia ligament under your foot that connects your heel bone and toes. This tissue is stressed if you have pronation issues because of low arches, and it can deteriorate over time. When it develops tiny fissures and becomes inflamed, the pain is usually felt under the front of the heel bone. Custom orthotics and stretching are quite effective at taking care of the pain and getting you back to your activities again.
Achilles tendinosis (often called tendinitis) is the most common cause of pain at the back of your heel. This ropy cord above your heel experiences a lot of tension during motion, as it transfers the pull of the calf muscles to move your foot up and down. When it wears out over time, it becomes weak, swollen, and painful. The pain will be located at the top back of your heel where the tendon inserts into the calcaneus. Rest, a good stretching program, and possibly surgery for a ruptured tendon will help you recover and start being active again.
Sever’s Disease in Kids
This condition is the most common cause of heel pain in active, growing children. It occurs in the growth plate of the calcaneus, when repeated trauma and overuse—often due to excessive practice and sports—causes the tight tendons and calf muscles to pull too hard on the growth plate and damage it. The pain will be felt at the back of the heel, and affects kids in their growing years (approximately 7 to 15). Fortunately, once they are fully grown and the heel bone matures and hardens, the pain goes away. In the meantime, there are conservative, nonsurgical treatments so your child doesn’t have to suffer.
Cracking under the Stress
Stress Fractures are not acute breaks such as you might experience in a car crash or other accident, but rather tiny cracks in the surface that happen with overuse. Weak muscles and tendons that don’t absorb the trauma of your steps can transfer all that pressure to the bone, which begins to degenerate over time. Athletes who run and jump a lot are more at risk, but anyone can experience heel pain from a stress fracture. With rest and proper care, the bone can repair itself and not cause further problems. If they are not treated, they can weaken the bone to the point that a full break occurs.
Many Other Reasons Your Heels Hurt
There are little fluid sacs called bursae that cushion between tendons and bones (like the one at the back of your heel). When irritation from movement or pressure causes these to become inflamed (bursitis), they can cause a lot of pain.
You could have a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or fibromyalgia that causes aching in your joints. A bone infection or bone tumor could also be painful.
Your heel pad may be getting thinner as you age. You may have a pinched nerve, such as with tarsal tunnel syndrome, or damaged nerves due to a disease like neuropathy. These can cause your heel area to hurt as well.
With so many possible causes for your heel pain, let us help you pinpoint exactly what is going on and find a treatment that will help. There’s no need to keep suffering when Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center is just a phone call away at (303) 423-2520. Call today, or set up an appointment at our Wheat Ridge, CO, office through our webpage, and say goodbye to your sore heels.
Photo Credit: Satit_Srihin via FreeDigitalPhotos.net