Your foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons. The heel is the largest bone in your foot. If you overuse or injure your heel, you may experience Heel Pain
. This can range from mild to disabling. In many cases, if you have heel pain, you will need a doctor to diagnose
Heel pain sometimes results from excessive pronation. Pronation is the normal flexible motion and flattening of the arch of the foot that allows it to adapt to ground surfaces and absorb shock in the
normal walking pattern. As you walk, the heel contacts the ground first; the weight shifts first to the outside of the foot, then moves toward the big toe. The arch rises, the foot generally rolls
upward and outward, becoming rigid and stable in order to lift the body and move it forward. Excessive pronation-excessive inward motion-can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the
ligaments and tendons attaching to the bottom back of the heel bone. Excessive pronation may also contribute to injury to the hip, knee, and lower back.
Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with an inflammation of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot. The inflammation of this arch area is called
plantar fasciitis. The inflammation maybe aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle. Achilles Tendinopathy, Pain
and inflammation of the tendon at the back of the heel that connects the calf muscle to the foot. Sever?s, Often found in children between the ages of 8 - 13 years and is an inflammation of the
calcaneal epiphyseal plate (growth plate) in the back of the heel. Bursitis, An inflamed bursa is a small irritated sack of fluid at the back of the heel. Other types of heel pain include soft tissue
growths, Haglunds deformity (bone enlargement at the back of the heel), bruises or stress fractures and possible nerve entrapment.
To arrive at a diagnosis, the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain your medical history and examine your foot. Throughout this process the surgeon rules out all the possible causes for your heel pain
other than plantar fasciitis. In addition, diagnostic imaging studies such as x-rays or other imaging modalities may be used to distinguish the different types of heel pain. Sometimes heel spurs are
found in patients with plantar fasciitis, but these are rarely a source of pain. When they are present, the condition may be diagnosed as plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome.
Non Surgical Treatment
Anti-inflammatory medication. Heel stretching exercise. Ice application to painful area - twice a day or more, for 10 - 15 minutes. Rest. Supportive, well-fitting, padded shoes. Heel cup, felt pads
or orthotics. Night splints - stretches injured fascia and allows healing. Basic treatment. First thing in the morning, before getting out of bed -- massage the bottom of the affected foot or feet
for at least five minutes. Ensure that the plantar is stretched and warmed up so that overnight healing remains intact. Before stepping out of bed, be sure that you have soft, padded, supportive
shoes or slippers to wear, especially if your flooring is hard, tile or uncarpeted flooring.
At most 95% of heel pain can be treated without surgery. A very low percentage of people really need to have surgery on the heel. It is a biomechanical problem and it?s very imperative that you not
only get evaluated, but receive care immediately. Having heel pain is like having a problem with your eyes; as you would get glasses to correct your eyes, you should look into orthotics to correct
your foot. Orthotics are sort of like glasses for the feet. They correct and realign the foot to put them into neutral or normal position to really prevent heel pain, and many other foot issues.
Whether it be bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, or even ankle instability, a custom orthotic is something worth considering.
You can reduce the risk of heel pain in many ways, including. Wear shoes that fit you properly with a firm fastening, such as laces. Choose shoes with shock-absorbent soles and supportive heels.
Repair or throw out any shoes that have worn heels. Always warm up and cool down when exercising or playing sport, include plenty of slow, sustained stretches. If necessary, your podiatrist will show
you how to tape or strap your feet to help support the muscles and ligaments. Shoe inserts (orthoses) professionally fitted by your podiatrist can help support your feet in the long term.