Do you know how many steps you take each day? You may not even think about it until you experience heel pain. Heel pain can make each step excruciating.
The heel is made up of the calcaneus bone and supported by a network of muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues, which together support the weight of the body and stress during movement. Heel pain is a common symptom of excessive strain placed on these structures.
Causes of Heel Pain include:
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is most often seen in middle-aged men and women, but may also occur in those who are constantly on their feet. Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that is present at the bottom of the foot. It runs from the heel bone to the toe and forms the arch of your foot. The most common symptom is stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel. You experience pain when you take your first steps on awakening and it slowly decreases, but may return after standing for a long period.
The Achilles tendon, which is the largest tendon of the body, is quite strong. However, microscopic tears may develop with significant stresses over a prolonged period. Achilles tendonitis symptoms include pain and inflammation of the large tendon that runs down the back of your heel. The tendon may still be functional, but you will experience pain with weight bearing on the affected foot.
A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that surrounds the joint and provides a cushioning effect. Near the back of the heel, there are 2 bursae that may become inflamed due to trauma or overuse. Heel bursitis symptoms include pain and swelling in the heel.
Repetitive stresses from activities such as running, jumping, and dancing can result in a stress fracture of the heel bone. However, abnormal bone conditions such as osteopenia can make you prone to stress fractures even while performing routine activities.
Heel pain is a common symptom of excessive strain placed on the structures which support the weight of the body during movement. Any of these conditions can make each step painful. If you are experiencing heel pain that is not getting better with conservative at-home treatment, make an appointment today with Dr. Ho for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Dr. Bryant S. Ho is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and is trained in the operative and non-operative management of adolescent and adult foot and ankle disorders. Dr. Ho places a strong emphasis on customizing his care for each patient to ensure successful outcomes. He provides all treatment options including preventative care, conservative management, and operative intervention.