Heel pain is one of the most common conditions treated by podiatrists. The most common incidence of heel pain is seen in middle-aged men and women. It is also seen in those who take part in regular sporting activities and those significantly overweight and on their feet a lot. Heel pain can also occur in children, usually between 8-13, as they become increasingly active in sporting activities.
It is thought that higher arches or flatter arches, or feet that roll in too much are causes of heel pain. This can place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissue attached to it.
One factor sometimes associated with heel pain is the heel spur, a bony growth under the heel bone. Heel spurs result from strain on the muscles of the foot. This may result from biomechanical imbalance, a condition occurring in many people.
Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with an inflammation of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot. The inflammation of this arch area is called plantar fasciitis and pain can be felt anyway along the course of this tight band of tissue.
Other causes of heel pain:
- Excessive rolling in of the feet when walking
- An inflamed bursa (bursitis), a small irritated sack of fluid at the back of the heel
- A neuroma (a nerve growth)
- Other soft tissue growths
- Heel bumps, a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone
- Bruises or stress fractures in the heel bone
If pain and other symptoms of inflammation- redness, swelling, heat- persist, you should limit normal daily activities and consult your podiatrist.
Treatment may involve exercise and shoe recommendations, taping or strapping and anti-inflammatory medication. Recovery usually depends on the cause of the heel pain and the individuals health.