You might not think much about your heel until it hurts, but unfortunately, heel pain affects nearly 2 million men and women each year. Left untreated, heel pain can significantly limit your mobility.
The team here at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center in Bakersfield, California, wants you to know that heel pain is treatable 一 and it’s one of our specialties. If your heel hurts, we encourage you to visit our office and explore your treatment options.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at the most common causes of heel pain.
5 common causes of heel pain
Heel pain is a common foot complaint, but before you can embark on a treatment plan, you need to know the underlying cause of your pain. Conditions that can contribute to heel pain include:
Your plantar fascia runs from your toes to your heel and helps support the arch in your foot, but it can become overstretched from repetitive movements. Plantar fasciitis 一 the leading cause of heel pain 一 develops when the band of tissue on the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed.
Your plantar fascia can develop microtears from strain and overuse. Long-distance runners are especially prone to plantar fasciitis. You might suspect you have plantar fasciitis if you have stabbing heel pain that is most intense in the morning or after exercise.
Just like your plantar fascia connects your heel to your toes, your Achilles tendon connects your heel to your calf. This is the longest and strongest tendon in your body, but if it becomes inflamed from overuse, it can cause heel pain. Basketball players, runners (especially those who suddenly increase their speed and distance training), and “weekend warriors” who participate in sports only sporadically are prone to developing Achilles tendonitis.
Your heel is a unique part of your anatomy where tendons, facia, muscle, and bone meet. A broken heel bone 一 officially called the calcaneus 一 can be a very painful injury. Fractured heel bones are more common in accidents or a fall in which your heel takes the brunt of the impact.
Also known as a pump bump, Haglund’s deformity is a painful bump that forms on your heel, near the bottom of the Achilles tendon. High heels can exacerbate this condition.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion your joints and prevent your bones from rubbing on tendons or muscles. You have bursae through your body, including in your hips, elbows, and feet. Your retrocalcaneal bursae are located between your heel bone and your Achilles tendon. If these bursae become inflamed, you may notice a bruise-like feeling in the back of the heel.
Find relief and regain your mobility
The first step in any treatment plan for heel pain is to pinpoint the source of your pain. That’s why our team here at Diabetic Foot and Wound Center starts with a comprehensive physical exam and a review of your symptoms.
During your exam, be prepared to discuss what activities make your heel pain worse, the severity and frequency of your pain, and what things you do help to alleviate the pain.
Depending on the cause of your pain, you may benefit from the following therapies and treatments:
- Physical therapy, including stretching exercises to strengthen your foot muscles
- Custom-fit orthotics
- Night splints (in the case of plantar fasciitis)
You don’t need to suffer in silence with heel pain. If your foot hurts, call Dr. Ruben Nieto at 661-238-7526 to make an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment at our Bakersfield, California, office via our online scheduling tool.