There are lots of reasons why you may be suffering from heel pain. Sometimes, it starts with a mild ache but can progress until the problem is unbearable and makes walking or running impossible.
If your doctor can’t diagnose and treat your heel pain, walking or running may make a person more likely to refrain from these healthy pastimes, negatively affecting their overall health.
It’s critical to identify the cause of your heel pain, so you can treat the issue at the source and resume your active lifestyle. You can treat particular heel pain at home once you’ve identified the cause, while others require the care and attention of a doctor.
Today, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of heel pain and how you can build the most effective treatment plan to get relief fast.
4 Common Heel Pain Causes
When you first start experiencing pain in your heel, take note of what you were doing at that moment. That way, you can build up a full picture of your symptoms, then track how they’re progressing.
It will help you and any healthcare professionals you see if you understand what triggers your symptoms.
Not every type of heel pain stems from the same root cause. Here are four of the most common causes you should know.
Fracture or sprain
Fractures and sprains are two different types of injuries that occur when some part of your body is forced into a position by repeated activity or a sudden impact that causes it to overstretch or break. A fracture refers to a break in a bone, while a sprain affects soft tissue around your joints. Both can be very painful.
Common symptoms of a fracture include a visible deformity in the area and swelling, bruising, and redness around the site. You may also feel unable to support your weight with that bone. Sprains have similar, but less severe, symptoms.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia (the thick band connecting the heel and the front of the foot) becomes inflamed from overuse.
People with plantar fasciitis often experience their worst heel pain in the morning, as their foot stiffens while they sleep. Other symptoms include burning, aching, or sharp pain on the bottom of the foot.
If you’re a runner, you may find yourself developing Achilles tendonitis, a common cause of heel pain that stems from an inflammation of the tendon that connects the calf to the heel bone.
This pain, reminiscent of the mythology of the Achilles’ heel, causes pain in the back of the heel and can make this area painfully tight and swollen.
When the fluid-filled sacs surrounding your joints become inflamed due to overuse, this condition is known as bursitis.
It can affect any joint in your body, including your heel. If you’ve developed heel bursitis, your heel will be achy and stiff and will hurt most when it’s in motion.
Treatments for Heel Pain
Most of these conditions you can manage at home after a positive diagnosis. With plenty of rest, icing the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, and careful stretching, you can improve your symptoms. The most important thing is to listen to your body and to take it slow until the pain starts to improve.
If you have plantar fasciitis, you might benefit from wearing night splints; a specialty device developed to keep the foot and ankle in the correct elongated position while the wearer sleeps. That way, there’s less tension in the area, so patients feel less pain when they wake up.
Heel lifts or custom orthotics
You can place many different devices in your shoes to keep your feet more comfortable during the day.
Heel lifts can offer much-needed padding on the heel and help relieve strain on the calf muscles, tendons, and plantar fascia throughout the day.
We make custom orthotics specifically to fit the wearer’s feet and take any foot problem into account. Suppose your heel pain is the result of an overuse injury. In that case, custom orthotics can help correct posture, gait, and foot position, ensuring that you can avoid these injuries in the future.
Improve Your Heel Pain with Custom Orthotics from Orthotics Direct
At Orthotics Direct, we make all of our custom orthotics to fit your exact measurements. We can take into account any ongoing issues that are causing you pain.
Getting your measurements to us is easy, too. Just use our simple foam kit, or scan your feet with a smartphone or tablet. Once we make your custom orthotics, we can fit them into a new pair of supportive shoes before they’re shipped, so they arrive ready to wear.