Heel pain is considered as a common form of foot pain experienced by many adults. The heel pain can range from minimal discomfort to debilitating that disrupts activities at home or at work. There are various conditions that can trigger heel pain that affects certain parts of the foot.
What are the parts of the foot involved?
The heel bone or calcaneus is the biggest bone in the foot which is the first region that makes contact with the ground while walking. The plantar fascia which is a group of connective tissue along with the flexor digitorum brevis muscle that allows flexing of the 4 lateral toes are both positioned on the sole of the foot.
Foot conditions that cause heel pain
Plantar fasciitis is one of the common causes of heel pain. Once the plantar fascia is inflamed, it triggers a stab-like pain. Take note that the pain typically occurs during the initial steps of the day and diminishes as the foot muscles become more flexible.
Extended periods of standing and changing from a seated to standing position can instigate heel pain. Those who are overweight, engage in running, pregnant women and those who wear shoes that lack arch supports are at risk for developing the condition.
Once the Achilles tendon is inflamed, it causes heel pain. The Achilles tendon is the strongest and longest in the body which is positioned in the rear of the leg and attaches to the heel. It is responsible for connecting the leg muscles to the foot.
The ensuing inflammation can strain on the tendon. Individuals who lack exercise or not properly conditioned face the highest risk for developing this condition.
Heel spurs are characterized as bony protrusions on the heel bone. The deposit of calcium from the plantar fascia pulls away from the bone. Individuals who have flat feet or over pronation, women wearing high-heeled shoes and those who have unusually high arches face a high risk for developing heel spurs. The pressure of the heel spurs on the surrounding muscles and tendons trigger pain.
Stress fracture of the heel bone
Overusing the heel bone can result to a stress fracture. The condition is common among runners and those who recently increased their daily exercise or activity. The start of the pain is usually gradual and subtle but becomes worse while engaging in weight-bearing activities.
Bursitis of the Achilles tendon
If bursitis develops in the Achilles tendon, the bursa located in the skin of the heel and the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed. Using high-heeled shoes or walking in a manner that places pressure on the soft tissues at the back of the heels can lead to bursitis. Initially, a reddened, swollen tender spot develops at the rear part of the heel. As the inflammation of the bursa increases, a reddish lump forms which results to pain at and above the heel.