It’s #PodsHealHeels week in the UK; a hashtag social media campaign to raise awareness of common heel pain issues and how they can be treated. As podiatrists, Hall Bank Clinic is one of the leading foot health centres in Buxton and we specialise in treating pain at the heel, ankle and lower leg.
Walking is the most natural and simplest way to get around. But for some people, it’s not as easy as it should be. Heel pain is one of the most common foot complaints. And if you’re experiencing pain in the heel, there’s a good chance that you or someone close to you does as well. By understanding what causes heel pain, we can take steps towards getting rid of it.
Heel pain is one of the most common foot complaints and is often misdiagnosed. Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, fracture of the heel bone, Sever's disease, and being overweight are all reasons for someone to experience heel pain.
The heel of your foot functions in walking to absorb the shock of your feet hitting the ground. It is capable of doing this because it is comprised of a big bone called the calcaneum that is held in place by strong ligaments that run between it and many other parts of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be sharp and intense, particularly when you first get out of bed in the morning. After a few hours, you may feel better only to experience pain again once you start walking around.
Sever’s disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, is a common inflammatory condition that occurs in young people. The cause of this condition is overuse or excessive force on the heel's growth plate. This can happen when a child jumps, skips or runs a lot, especially on hard surfaces like concrete.
Growth plates have generally hardened by the age of 15, making Sever’s disease extremely unlikely.
Achilles tendonitis occurs when your calf muscle is overworked. Your calcaneum (heel bone) and your calf muscle are integral parts of your body's main running force. When you're walking, running, jumping, or standing up on your tiptoes, the muscles in your calf are used to push against the ground and propel your body forward. The calf muscles can get inflamed or irritated if overused; this is what happens in Achilles tendonitis.
A broken heel bone, also known as a calcaneal fracture, is what you get when you jump from a height or land hard on a surface. It’s also called a Lover’s fracture because it was once believed that the injury came from desperate lovers leaping from rooftops to escape their pursuing spouses. Now we know that it often happens when people make sudden movements, like tripping and landing awkwardly.
Treatment options for heel pain
If you've been experiencing pain in the back of your foot, don't rub it off. Resting can help relieve heel pain and will prevent it from getting worse. It's also important that you don't ignore the pain as this may make it settle in for longer.
If you're experiencing pain in your heels or any part of your foot, visit a podiatrist as soon as possible. They can perform a variety of tests and exams that will determine the cause of the pain and get to work on a treatment plan to relieve your pain and get you back to your normal activities.
*This blog contains general information about medical conditions. You must not rely upon the information in this blog as medical advice. Medical advice should always be sought from an appropriately qualified podiatrist such as ourselves.