When everything performs as intended, it’s easy to take things for granted—like your feet. In times like these, we don’t often think about how much they do for us.
Your feet and ankles have important responsibilities. Sure, they allow you to walk and move around, but they even have to support the rest of your body when you’re just standing. And in enabling movement, your lower limbs have to endure greater amounts of physical force than you likely realize.
For example, walking at a normal pace can place up to two times your body’s weight on the landing foot with every step you take. This is important to consider as we look at heel pain and what causes it.
Now, we treat many different conditions and injuries here at Texas Foot and Ankle Center, but heel pain treatment is a particularly common one. If you’re having pain in the back of your foot, we can help!
Common Causes of Heel Pain
One of the reasons heel pain affects so many people is on account of all that physical force we place upon our feet (even just walking around during the day). Another reason comes down to heel anatomy.
Your heel bone (calcaneus) has two very important connective tissues anchored to it—the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. The Achilles connects the bottom of the calf muscle to the calcaneus and attaches on the back of the bone. Your plantar fascia bridges the back and front of your foot, running along the length of the bottom of the foot, and attaching to the underside of the calcaneus.
Between the force loads and anatomy, heel pain can be caused by several different conditions and injuries, including:
Plantar fasciitis is actually the most common sources of heel pain for adults. This condition is caused by an inflamed tissue (plantar fascia) running along the underside of your foot. When subjected to excessive stress, the fascia becomes torn and inflamed.
Your body works to repair the fascia during periods of rest, but the tears can rip back open with the first steps
Active individuals need to be careful, or you could potentially develop this common overuse injury. The Achilles tendon is the body’s strongest
When overworked, the Achilles can become inflamed. Pain in the back of the heel is usually strongest during, or immediately following, physical activity and will worsen over time. This is often experienced by long-distance runners and “weekend warriors” (who engage in
Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain for adults, but Sever’s is the most common source for kids (especially adolescents).
Sever’s isn’t actually a disease, though. Instead, it is a condition that occurs when the heel bone reaches physical maturity before the Achilles tendon. This leads to tightness and pulling in the back of the heel. The pain is often worse with physical activity and treatment is centered on relieving it (since the condition will resolve itself over time, without any long-term issues).
Bone spurs are calcium deposits that build up over time in response to external forces or pressure. Heel spurs, specifically, develop on the underside of the heel, and can happen in tandem with plantar fasciitis.
Your body has tiny sacs filled with lubricating fluid to decrease friction and irritation in various joints. These are called bursae, and the one located between the Achilles tendon and heel bone can become inflamed and lead to pain on account of repetitive motion or excessive force.
Heel Pain Treatment
The good news when it comes to these various conditions is that they are often successfully resolved with the use of conservative (nonsurgical) treatment. There are many different options and methods we may use when creating our unique treatment plan specifically for you.
Some of the components include rest, ice, medication, stretches, physical therapy, footwear changes, and perhaps even corticosteroid injections. (Naturally, your specific case will determine which options we use.)
An especially effective treatment option we might prescribe is orthotic therapy. Orthotics are medical inserts you slip into your shoes to put your feet in a better, more natural position and improve your biomechanics (how your feet move). We have been able to find a lot of success with this approach and perhaps this will be the answer to your own case of heel pain!
Stop Your Heel Pain: Come See Us Today!
Remember, if you are experiencing heel pain—or difficulty anywhere in a foot or ankle—this is not normal. It’s your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
Fortunately, we can provide the care you need.
Our medical experts are ready to create a customized treatment plan and put your heel pain in the past, so contact Texas Foot and Ankle Center today. Either give our Dallas podiatrist office a call at (214) 660-0777 or take advantage of our online form to connect with us and request your appointment right now.
Doctor's Professional Building 1
1151 N. Buckner Boulevard, Suite 201
Dallas, TX 75218
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