What Causes Heel Discomfort

Overview


Foot Pain


Heel Pain is one of the most common conditions treated by podiatrists. It is often a message from the body that something is in need of medical attention. Pain that occurs right after an injury or early in an illness may play a protective role, often warning us about the damage we have suffered. The greatest incidence of heel pain is seen in middle-aged men and women. It is also seen in those who take part in regular sporting activities and those significantly overweight and on their feet a lot. Heel pain can also occur in children, usually between 8 and 13, as they become increasingly active in sporting activities.


Causes


some heel pain can be caused by rheumatological diseases, and these pains can do a real good impersonation of plantar fasciitis symptoms. Seronegative Arthropathies such as Psoriatic Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylisis are the most common types to cause heel pain by producing an inflammatory reaction where the fascia attaches to the heel. This is called an enthesitis. If you have a history of Psoriasis or a family history of other arthritic conditions listed above we recommend you see a clinician about your heel pain to confirm the diagnosis. Another occasional cause of heel pain is loss of the cushioning fat pad of the heel, which can result in a bruised heel bone (calcaneus). If you can easily feel your heel bone through your skin on the bottom of your foot you may well have poor fatty tissue on your heel. Pressing on the centre of your heel should feel like pushing into firm rubber, and your skin should not move easily. If you can pinch the skin under your heel and feel a very hard lump when you press the bottom of your heel then it is likely you have a heel fat pad problem. One simple final test is to walk on a hard floor. If you feel the pain only when your heel hits the ground a fat pad problem is most likely. If the pain mainly occurs as you lift the heel off the ground it is more likely to be plantar fasciitis.


Symptoms


Pain in the heel can be caused by many things. The commonest cause is plantar fascitis. Other causes include, being overweight, constantly being on your feet, especially on a hard surface like concrete and wearing hard-soled footwear, thinning or weakness of the fat pads of the heel, injury to the bones or padding of the heel, arthritis in the ankle or heel (subtalar) joint, irritation of the nerves on the inner or outer sides of the heel, fracture of the heel bone (calcaneum).


Diagnosis


After you have described your foot symptoms, your doctor will want to know more details about your pain, your medical history and lifestyle, including. Whether your pain is worse at specific times of the day or after specific activities. Any recent injury to the area. Your medical and orthopedic history, especially any history of diabetes, arthritis or injury to your foot or leg. Your age and occupation. Your recreational activities, including sports and exercise programs. The type of shoes you usually wear, how well they fit, and how frequently you buy a new pair. Your doctor will examine you, including. An evaluation of your gait. While you are barefoot, your doctor will ask you to stand still and to walk in order to evaluate how your foot moves as you walk. An examination of your feet. Your doctor may compare your feet for any differences between them. Then your doctor may examine your painful foot for signs of tenderness, swelling, discoloration, muscle weakness and decreased range of motion. A neurological examination. The nerves and muscles may be evaluated by checking strength, sensation and reflexes. In addition to examining you, your health care professional may want to examine your shoes. Signs of excessive wear in certain parts of a shoe can provide valuable clues to problems in the way you walk and poor bone alignment. Depending on the results of your physical examination, you may need foot X-rays or other diagnostic tests.


Non Surgical Treatment


There are many treatments for fasciitis. The most common initial treatment provided by the family doctor are anti-inflammatory medications. They may take the edge off the pain, but they don't often resolve the condition fully. Steroid injections, which deliver the medication directly to the most painful area, are usually more effective. Rest, ice, weight loss, taping, strapping, immobilization, physiotherapy, massage, stretching, heel cushions, acupuncture, night splints and extra-corporeal shock wave therapy all help some patients. Many patients, however, have a biomechanical cause such as excessively pronated feet to their complaint, and this may mean many of the treatments listed above will only provide temporary relief of fasciitis symptoms. When you stop the treatment, the pain often returns. This is why many cases of fasciitis respond well to orthoses, custom-made inserts that control the mechanical cause of the complaint. If you're considering orthoses, it's very important to have a podiatrist specializing in the field to examine you. There are many biomechanical factors to consider when assessing the need for literally dozens of types of devices available, so you need to have an expert to properly assess you. (Unfortunately, as is the case in many jurisdictions, there is no minimum standard of training required in British Columbia to make orthoses, and there are many fly-by-night operations around that employ salesmen with little, if any, training in understanding anatomy or foot function. The emphasis with these groups is on selling you some sort of device, rather than providing proper assessment, treatment and follow-up.


Surgical Treatment


Surgery to correct heel pain is generally only recommended if orthotic treatment has failed. There are some exceptions to this course of treatment and it is up to you and your doctor to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Following surgical treatment to correct heel pain the patient will generally have to continue the use of orthotics. The surgery does not correct the cause of the heel pain. The surgery will eliminate the pain but the process that caused the pain will continue without the use of orthotics. If orthotics have been prescribed prior to surgery they generally do not have to be remade.


Prevention


Foot Pain


Maintaining flexible and strong muscles in your calves, ankles, and feet can help prevent some types of heel pain. Always stretch and warm-up before exercising. Wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Make sure there is enough room for your toes.

Post a comment

Private comment

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.

Comment is pending approval.

Comment is pending administrator's approval.
Search form
Display RSS link.
Link
Friend request form

Want to be friends with this user.

QR code
QR