Heel pain is fairly common, and there are many possible causes. With that said, heel pain is generally not serious. Once the source is identified, non-surgical treatments are often enough to resolve the pain. So, why does your heel hurt?
Why Does My Heel Hurt?
To better understand what may be causing your heel pain, we have created this short guide that underlines common conditions, potential risk factors, and ways to alleviate pain until you receive professional heel pain treatment.
Common Conditions that Cause Heel Pain
The most common condition associated with heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tendon that stretches from the ball of your foot to the back of your heel becomes irritated and inflamed.
You may have plantar fasciitis if your heel pain is worse when you first get up in the morning. You may also notice increased discomfort with plantar fasciitis after long periods of walking or other weight-bearing exercises.
Another common condition that can cause heel pain are bone spurs. Heel spurs are often a result of plantar fasciitis, but they can form as a result of other conditions. In most cases, they are not painful, but there are exceptions.
Potential Risk Factors for Heel Pain
Heel pain is associated with a number of risk factors. Four of them crop up more often than others.
If you regularly participate in athletic activities that involve a lot of walking or running, then you may be more likely to develop a condition that causes heel pain. Long-distance running in particular is a major risk factor for plantar fasciitis.
People Who Are Overweight
Carrying extra weight whether you’re obese or a bodybuilder puts extra strain on your body, especially your feet. Your feet are relatively small in comparison to your total mass, and that means they’re under a lot of pressure at all times.
If you gain weight, for whatever reason, the additional pressure could irritate the plantar fascia or other structures along your foot, heel, and ankle.
People with Flat Feet
If you have “flat feet,” you don’t have a well-defined arch on the bottom of your foot. This condition can be caused by developmental abnormalities, injury, and plain old aging.
Without a strong arch in the foot, the plantar fascia can be put under additional strain. As a result, people with flat feet are generally more likely to experience heel pain, especially if they don’t wear supportive footwear.
People Who Don’t Wear Supportive Footwear
We spend a lot of time on our feet every day. Well-made and well-maintained footwear help to support our feet through all of it. Unfortunately, if you’re wearing shoes that don’t support your arch very well, then you may be more susceptible to heel pain.
Whenever possible wear supportive shoes. If you regularly wear high heels, consider placing orthotic supports inside of your shoes to improve your comfort and long-term foot health.
What to Do About Heel Pain?
If you are suffering from heel pain, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and take it easy for a few days. During those days, you should avoid strenuous activity and wear supportive footwear.
If the pain does not go away after a period of rest, then you should make an appointment with your podiatrist. They can try professional orthotics, targeted stretches, and injection therapy to help treat your condition.
For the vast majority of patients, these treatments will resolve their discomfort. For the few who are still struggling after giving other treatments time to work, there are options for minimally invasive heel surgery in Los Angeles. By using a keyhole technique, your surgeon can make the required changes with minimal downtime and risk.