Heel Pain

Definition: inflammation of the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot; sometimes associated directly with plantar fasciitis

Medical terminology: heel pain, heel spur syndrome, plantar fasciitis

Do you ever suffer from sore, painful heels after long periods of standing or walking? Are you experiencing heel pain upon standing first thing in the morning? Is the back of your heel sore or painful? If so, you are experiencing one of the many symptoms of heel pain.

Types of Heel Pain

  • General heel pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heel spur syndrome

General heel pain

During periods of walking, running or even standing, large amounts of pressure are placed on the heel of the foot. This repetitive pressure can cause soreness of the heel.

As the body ages, the natural cushioning around the heel disappears which can also lead to general heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the dense band of tissue called the plantar fascia, which extends from the bottom of the heel bone to the base of the toes. Excessive pulling and stretching of the plantar fascia can cause inflammation and irritation which can lead to heel pain, arch pain or even the growth of a bone spur.

Common causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • long periods of standing
  • obesity or sudden increase in weight
  • sudden increase in activity
  • mechanical or structural imbalances of foot
  • wearing shoes with poor support
  • tight calf muscles
  • osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

 

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Heel spur syndrome

A heel spur (calcaneal spur) is a small bony growth located on the heel bone (calcaneus). Repetitive press and excessive pulling of the plantar fascia on the heel bone can lead to calcium deposits on the bottom of the heel bone (bone spur). This can make it difficult to bear weight on the affected heel making walking or exercise difficult to do.

Heel spurs can also be associated with some medical conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis.

Radiological examination (x-ray) can be used to detect a heel spur.

Treating Heel Pain

Heel pain responds well to conservation, non-surgical treatment. It is important to be assessed by a foot specialist to determine what is the root of the problem so the proper treatment plan can be used for you. The Cooksville Foot Care Clinic offers many different treatment options to help with heel pain:

For a small percentage of people, conservative treatment might fail. If conservative treatment fails, surgery may be the solution for your heel pain.