If you are in constant pain while walking and have the worst pain in your heel… you are not alone! Many people throughout their lifetime will develop heel pain that just doesn’t seem to go away.
Imagine this scenario: you have been walking around and going about your normal routine. One day, you wake up with heel pain. You take some Tylenol and go about your normal day, thinking it was just something you stepped on, or that you tweaked your foot.
This pain and swelling persist for a couple of days, weeks, or even months until you can’t take them anymore and go to a physical therapist. This is how it usually goes, right?
Typically, heel pain is not caused by one specific incident or injury, but happens gradually from overuse, repetitive stress, improper shoe-wear, or just by the anatomy of your foot with high or low arches.
What is causing your heel pain? Keep reading to see the top three causes of heel pain and also learn some heel pain treatments to help the pain go away!
Common Causes of Heel Pain
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain in the heel of the foot. This is usually degeneration of the plantar fascia that supports the arch of your foot. This can come and go throughout the day, but the pain is usually worse in the morning within the first few steps of the day.
This condition usually happens because of the anatomy of your foot, with your arches being either too high or low. The plantar fascia being overstretched can cause irritation and inflammation of the fascia, inducing pain.
Heel bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, a condition that can cause pain in the heel. In your body, you have many bursa sacs, fluid-filled areas that provide a cushion between bones and tendons or muscles around a joint. When this is irritated in your heel, either by landing awkwardly or from constant pressure on the back of the heel, it can cause inflammation and irritation. Luckily, we at Robbins Rehabilitation West can show you the proper stretches for foot pain when you come in to see us.
Achilles tendinosis/tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon. Your Achilles is a band of tissue that connects the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone. The Achilles tendon is used all the time when you are walking, running, jumping, and moving. This injury is most common in runners who have suddenly ramped up their intensity or the duration of their runs, or someone who suddenly increases their intensity of exercise or movement.
Heel Pain Treatments
Most of these pains/injuries can be prevented or avoided with a few simple steps!
- Make sure to stretch before and after exercise
- Like anything, gradually increase your activity
- Make sure you have good footwear and that it properly fits your foot (see our previous post about shoes)
- Be sure to strengthen your feet and ankles (don’t forget the hips, either, for help with foot control)
- Rest when your body needs it, and don’t push past pain
For those of you who want to learn how to prevent injuries and avoid pain, go to our website for a free course on the foot and ankle. You will learn about the causes for foot pain and learn some exercises you can do right now to help strengthen and get ready for flip-flop season.
If you are ready to start physical therapy right away, then do not hesitate to call Robbins Rehabilitation West at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing.
Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below. If you sign up for a course, you will be able to get to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!