Heel pain is a problem that almost everyone suffers from at some stage in their life. The severity of the pain will vary from case to case and will also depend on the cause of the problem. Our feet are made up of a complex system of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons that pull and stretch, and expand and contract to keep us moving. Over time, this continuous work can put pressure on some of these areas, causing heel pain.
Symptoms of heel pain
Stress fractures – Stress fractures are caused by overuse or constant pressure on the heel. They are also common in people who suffer from osteoporosis. Athletes, or those who place a lot of stress on their feet for long periods of time can be prone to stress fractures.
Achilles tendonitis - Achilles tendonitis occurs when the Achilles tendon, which is a band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone, is overworked.
Plantar Fasciitis – This is among the most common causes of foot pain and is the result of irritation and inflammation of the tissues that is located at the arch of the foot.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – This refers to the pinching of the large nerve at the back of the foot leading to severe foot and heel pain. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand, this too is often caused by constant repetitive actions.
Retrocalcaneal bursitis – When the small, fluid-filled sacs under the heel, get inflamed, it can cause heel pain.
Achilles tendon rupture – This is an injury to the back of your lower leg and can result in heel pain. It mainly occurs in people playing recreational sports, but it can happen to anyone.
Heel spurs - A heel spur is created by a bony growth called a calcium deposit, that extends between your heel bone and arch. It can cause pain, inflammation and discomfort when walking.
Haglund's deformity– It manifests as a bony enlargement on the back of the heel and can get inflamed due to constant friction with footwear, causing pain, inflammation and pus.
If not attended to, heel pain can get very severe and can limit movement and affect a person’s life. A podiatrist can provide orthotics, medication and other solutions to diagnose and treat heel pain.