Heel pain: what is heel pain?
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

Heel pain is a common problem with various origins. Do you feel pain in your heel? Do not panic, there are suitable treatments and effective means of prevention.

Focus on the causes of heel pain, solutions, and appropriate treatments.

Description of heel pain

Most often, heel pain is manifested in only one foot by severe pain when walking, when the heel touches the ground. The pain is usually felt at the back or under the heel, where the weight of the body rests.

Depending on the cause of the pain, it can be more intense when you get out of bed and decrease after a few minutes of walking, or, on the contrary, persist all day.

What is heel pain?

pain in the heel can be felt:

  • under the heel;
  • in back ;
  • on the edge;
  • over the entire heel.

The constitution of the heel

The heel is made up of two bones, the talus, and the calcaneus. This is the largest of the 26 bones in the foot.

The two heel bones are the anchor point for several tendons and ligaments, such as the Achilles tendon for example.

The causes of heel pain

Several things can cause heel pain. These are mainly so-called “biomechanical” causes, that is to say, they affect the bones, ligaments, or muscles of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciitis

The plantar fascia (or plantar aponeurosis) is a band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes to support the arch of the foot.

We speak of plantar fasciitis when the fascia is inflamed, torn, or ruptured. It is the most common cause of heel pain.

Heel spur or heel spur

The heel spur is an outgrowth of the heel bone, the calcaneus, where the plantar fascia attaches.

The appearance of Lenoir’s spur may be the direct consequence of plantar fasciitis, but it can also occur in people with intensive sports practice, who are obese, or who regularly wear high heels.

Sever’s disease

In children, during growth, the growth plate (or growth plate) on which the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus) can become inflamed.

It is the most common cause of heel pain in children, especially those who are very active or practice a lot of sports. Sever’s disease can affect one or both feet.

Bone fracture

Heel pain can also be a sign of a broken bone. In this case, only an X-ray can establish the formal diagnosis.

The crevices

Heel cracks are caused by dryness in the skin of the foot. They are fairly common and not serious, but can, over time, lead to infections.

Certain factors can increase the risk of these conditions appearing, and therefore heel pain:

  • flat or very hollow feet;
  • legs of unequal length;
  • a lack of musculature in the foot;
  • obesity;
  • wearing the wrong shoes, especially when playing sports;
  • the excessive practice of sport or too sudden an increase in the intensity of training.

Treatment and prevention of heel pain: what solutions?

It is possible to temporarily relieve heel pain by taking over-the-counter painkillers or by applying ice to the area for about fifteen minutes.

When it occurs, it is also preferable to limit walking and pressure on the heel by avoiding standing.

If the pain and other symptoms of inflammation, such as redness, swelling, and warmth persist, it is recommended to contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor may order an X-ray to determine the exact cause of heel pain. He will then propose an appropriate treatment depending on the cause of the pain:

  • an anti-inflammatory;
  • wearing a splint (especially at night) to stretch the foot;
  • wearing suitable insoles;
  • physiotherapy sessions;
  • wearing silicone gel heel pads in shoes or orthopedic insoles;
  • moisturizing creams for crevices;
  • or even surgery.

For people who are overweight or obese, it is recommended to lose weight to limit the pressure exerted on the heel.

Evolution and possible complications of heel pain

If heel pain is not taken into account and treated, the pain can worsen and become disabling to the point of preventing walking and standing.

Image Credit: Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

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