Heel Pain Causes

 

Heel pain is a common medical condition affecting many people these days. This ailment holds no wonder considering the amount of impact our heels take daily. One of the primary impact points of our body is our heels. They take the full body weight whenever we are in motion and the forces put on our heels are much higher than the weight of our body!

When pain in the heels strikes, it ranges from a mild twinge to unbearable agony. It is pretty unusual to have pain in both the heels, with the left heel being more prone to get affected easily. However, when one of your heels is affected by pain, the pace of walking is altered and you tend to put more strain on the other heel to compensate or balance your entire body weight.

The exact nature and location of the pain indicates 2 signs of the underlying condition. Medically heel pain is categorized as inferior heel pain or posterior heel pain. Inferior heel pain is a common condition that occurs directly below the heel and posterior heel pain is experienced at the front of the foot. Most of the cases of inferior heel pain are caused by bruising and planter fasciitis.

Luckily, heel pain can be easily treated – all thanks to the large number of effective and reasonable treatment methods available these days.

The general causes of heel pain- at a glance

  • Plantar Fasciitis- The planter fascia which is a fibrous tendon running from the heel to the foot ball is most commonly affected by heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. Plantar fascia acts as the arch of your foot that is responsible for shock absorption and cushioning. Inflammation of the plantar fascia is commonly known as tendonitis that causes extreme pain and gets worse after hours of rest or during the first morning hours. In some of the cases, the pain is directly centered below the heels and is goaded by strenuous workout sessions but eases as soon as the extra weight is taken off the body. Plantar fasciitis is even caused by faulty structure of the foot.
  • Heel bruise- Hard objects like rocks and stones under the foot can bash the tender tissues while causing intense pain while walking. Such a situation is called stone or heel bruising that occurs due to sudden heavy landing of the foot on some irregular surface or from constant pounding.
  • Heel spurs- It is commonly related with plantar fasciitis. This condition is mostly found in patients suffering from prolonged heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. It is a condition caused from excessive bone growth from the heel bone calcaneus and is approximately present in every 3 of the 4 plantar fasciitis patients.
  • Tarsal Tunnel syndrome- Due to this condition, a large nerve in the rear of the foot gets pinched and strained. It bears heavy resemblance with carpal tunnel syndrome that occurs in the hand. It is yet another cause of intense heel pain.
  • Posterior heel pain- This condition shows its effects behind the foot instead of below the limb. It causes retrocalcaneal bursitis and Achilles tendonitis.
  • Stress fractures- Although it is an uncommon cause that occurs in the calcaneus but is often considered one of the causes of heel pain. Mostly athletes and sportsmen tend to suffer from this condition leading to heel pain.
  • Over-pronation- It is a natural rolling mechanism of the foot but a lot of people tends to over pronate that causes their foot to excessively roll inwards while running or walking. This condition is commonly seen in individuals who are sufferers of flat feet or fallen arches and can result in extreme pain in the heels as well as shin bones.
  • Paget’s disease- It is an again a rare cause of heel pain and is responsible for the irregular remodeling of the bone. it is marked by the formation of abnormal and enlarged growth of bones which are brittle and less dense and are prone to possible breakage. However, this condition shows no symptoms and its cause is also unknown to all but many medical experts assume this condition as a genetically driven ailment further fuelled by viral infections.
  • Using wrong or imperfect footwear without any proper arch or ankle support on flat or hard surfaces can also cause plantar fasciitis. Faulty footwear put on a lot of strain on the foot’s plantar fascia. Such conditions affect people who have to stand for long due to job demands.
  • Obesity is also another reason of heel pain that affects the foot’s plantar fascia.

Some other possible causes of heel pain include the following:-

  • Soft tendons or tissues, infection in the bone
  • Gout
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Primary as well as secondary malignant and benign tumors

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