Most people experience heel pain at some point. In fact, it is a common type of foot pain. For some, it can be a temporary occurrence, but for others, the pain can persist or extend for periods and re-occur from time to time. This can be quite disturbing for people who are often on their feet for work or recreation.
If you are experiencing heel pain, the best thing to do is to find the root of this condition. Wondering what can trigger such sensations at this part of your foot?
What often causes heel pain?
- Achilles Tendon Issues
Your calf muscles and heel bone are connected by a group of tissue called the calcaneal tendon or Achilles Tendon. While it is considered the toughest tendon in the body, it can become inflamed due to overuse.
A more severe issue can result in the rupture of this tendon. This connective tissue may be totally or partially ripped apart. You will feel intense pain when this occurs, making you unable to stand or walk comfortably.
- Stress Fractures
Weight-bearing bones such as the heel bone and other parts of the foot often experience overuse due to activities such as jumping and running without proper footwear. This can cause small breaks in the bone, which becomes painful when exerted with weight.
- Plantar Fasciitis
Perhaps one of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. It occurs when the plantar fascia or the connective tissue between the heel bone and toes gets inflamed. Activities that put a lot of force on this tissue can cause inflammation.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
If you have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, you need to know about tarsal tunnel syndrome, a similar condition that involves the legs and feet. It is caused by an injury in the posterior tibial nerve due to frequent movement and pressure.
While it does not directly affect the heel bone, it can cause pain in that area because it affects the tibial nerve that runs along the calf and the underfoot toward the toes.
Bunions can be an indirect root of heel pain because of their uncomfortable nature. These are deformities in the foot structure due to an inflammation in the joint connecting the bones of the big toe or small toe.
While this does not necessarily cause heel pain, adjustments in the way you walk to avoid further hurting the joint can result in stresses on other parts of the foot, which can cause an aching sensation in the heels. Treatments such as lifestyle changes and minimally intrusive bunion surgery may be necessary.
What to Do When Experiencing Heel Pain
The thing about suffering from painful bouts in your heel area is that you can never be sure what causes it unless you have it checked. To eliminate other causes such as wounds, nerve pain, and bunions, your best bet is to go to a foot doctor for a consultation.
Your heel pain may be tolerable now, but it can become more serious when you leave it untreated for a long time. For professional assessments and treatments, as well as wound care and MIS bunion surgery, make sure to go to a licensed podiatrist.