Heel pain is the most common of foot complaints. Over 80% of Australians will have this problem at some point in their lives. There are many types of heel pain and self-treatment can sometimes make the pain worse, so it is very important to get the correct diagnosis to guide your treatment & successful recovery.
Types of Heel Pain:
A calcaneal spur or heel spur is a bony protrusion that grows out of your heel bone. The calcium deposits in your bone collect and create a hook-shaped outgrowth on the underside or the back of your heel. Many heel spurs are not painful at all, and they develop gradually over time. You may need an x-ray to diagnose a heel spur within your foot. Rest and lifestyle changes can reduce pain from heel spurs.
Achilles tendon pain may be a symptom of Achilles tendonitis/tendinopathy. Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, and you use it for almost every movement in daily life. You may experience Achilles pain in your ankle, tight calf muscles, and swollen or inflamed heels after excessive exercise or physical strain. Your podiatrist may recommend a combination of exercises, footwear, orthotics or anti-inflammatories to soothe your pain.
Plantar fasciitis, or plantar fasciosis, is a common condition that causes pain in the bottom of your heel. This condition is the degeneration or inflammation of the plantar fascia – the ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot. The type of pain associated with plantar fasciitis is a burning or aching feeling on the underside of your foot that spreads outward from the heel.
Bursitis is a painful condition that affects your joints. Bursitis affects the joints you use often and can occur under your heel or big toe. The pain comes from inflammation and swelling of the bursae – small, fluid-filled sacs that protect your joints. Resting your feet can usually ease the pain, although you should visit your podiatrist if you experience a sharp pain in your heel or debilitating joint pain.
Reasons Why You Have a Sore Heel, Foot or Ankle
Your feet and heels endure much stress and strain during daily life, and many factors increase the risk of developing heel conditions. Here are some typical causes of heel pain and aggravating factors that contribute to ongoing heel pain.
Poorly fitting footwear. Your shoes play a fundamental role in the health of your feet. Wearing too-tight shoes puts pressure on your bones and tissue and may cause inflammation and discomfort. Wearing shoes that do not support your ankles may lead to pain in your Achilles tendon. Consistently wearing high heels is also not recommended for foot health.
Impact or sports injury. Exercises that repeatedly impact your feet, such as running, jumping, or dancing, may result in heel pain. High amounts of training, without adequate rest time to allow your tendons and ligaments to adjust and strengthen, can cause achilles tendinopathies, heel pain, and bursitis.
Standing for extended periods. You may experience foot pain if your job requires you to stand for most of the day – common in occupations such as healthcare, teaching, hospitality and hairdressing. Excessive standing can eventually lead to inflamed plantar fascia ligaments, resulting in sore arches.
Biomechanics – the way our feet function when we are walking or running can contribute significantly to heel pain. Poor mechanics can gradually increase stress to the feet, which ultimately can lead to injury and pain.
Choose The Victorian Podiatry Group as Your Trusted Podiatrists
The Victorian Podiatry Group is an established group of professional podiatrists with over 75 years of industry experience. We are dedicated to helping you recover from and prevent foot and ankle injuries through consistent care that promotes strong and healthy feet. We practice podiatry in over ten different locations to ensure we are easily accessible and convenient for you to visit. Our team is understanding and empathetic, and we aim to build a patient-focused practice. Contact us for more information.