Causes of Heel Pain

Do you know what one of, if not the, most common complaint patients tell their podiatrist is?  It’s heel pain!  Heel pain plagues thousands of Americans each day and millions of people around the globe.  So if you are one of these people who have to live with stabbing pain with every step you take, it’s time to learn what is causing it!

Heel pain can be caused by numerous things, which the most common are:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Heel Spurs
  • Stress Fractures
  • Excessive Pronation
  • Achilles Tendonitis/Rupture
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Haglands Deformity
  • Retro-Calcaneal Spurs

Let us start with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.  This is where the band that runs along the bottom of your foot connecting your heel to the front of your foot is inflamed, and possibly even torn.  Plantar fasciitis is usually more painful in the morning and after long periods of being off your feet, because the band has been reconnecting while you rested, but once you place weight on the band, it tears again.  Heel spurs, which are commonly linked with plantar fasciitis, are bony growths on the bottom of the heel bone and can actually tear the muscle or tendon that is pressing against it, which of course results in pain.  These growths can become as large as a half an inch.

Stress fractures are just what they sound like.  What has happen is that so much stress at one point was placed on the bone, which it broke under that stress.  So if your heel at some point had an unusual amount of force exerted onto it, there is a possibility that you might have cracked you heel bone, which would be painful.

Excessive pronation is the term used when a person walks on the inside of their feet.  The problem there is that by constantly walking on the inside of the foot it stretches the ligaments and tendons that connect the back of the heel bone to the rest of the leg.  This can lead to hip, knee and even back pain or injury.

Achilles Tendinitis causes heel pain because of inflammation of the Achilles tendon. That tendon runs along the back of the ankle and ends on the back of the heel bone.  An Achilles rupture is different as the tendon actually tears, which is usually very painful

Haglands Deformity or most commonly known as “Pump Bump”. This condition causes severe pain to the back of the heel and develops over time until too much bone forms. Often this is associated with what is called a Retro-Calcaneal Spur which is a large sharp bone that forms where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel and often times will rupture the Achilles.

Lastly, there is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.  What happens here is a nerve in the back of your foot is pinched.  This is actually the equivalent of carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in the hands.

Again, these are the most common causes of heel pain, but they are not all the causes of heel pain.  There are many different causes, and there always seems to new causes spouting up.  So if you are experiencing heel pain, it’s time to be rid of it!  Schedule an appointment with Houston Foot Specialists and have Dr. Aleisha Allen give you a thorough evaluation to find the exact cause for your heel pain.  Only when you find out the cause can you then treat the problem at the source.

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