What Causes Heel Pain?

Do you feel a stabbing pain in your heel with your first steps out of bed in the morning? Youre not alone! Every day, thousands of Americans suffer from this condition. Plantar fasciitis, more commonly known as heel pain, is by far the most common complaint patients bring to podiatric physicians.

Aching heels can truly affect your lifestyle and disrupt essential activities and prevent you, to a large extent, from playing sports or simply going for a walk. An accurate expedient diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms will help you receive the appropriate treatment.

There are several causes of heel pain. The most common include:
*Plantar Fasciitis Inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar) surface of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis.
*Heel Spurs A bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. The spur, visible by X-ray, appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. Heel spurs can result from strain on the ball of the foot and repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone.
*Excessive Pronation Excessive inward motion can create an abnormal amount of stretching and pulling on the ligaments and tendons that attach to the bottom back part of the heel bone. Excessive pronation may also contribute to injury to the hip, knee, and lower back.
*Achilles Tendinitis Pain at the back of the heel is associated with Achilles tendinitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles tendon as it runs behind the ankle and inserts on the back surface of the heel bone.
*Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome This syndrome causes a large nerve in the back of the foot to become entrapped, or pinched. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand, tarsal tunnel syndrome can cause heel pain.

Other possible causes of heel pain include rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis (e.g., gout); Haglunds deformity (a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone); inflamed bursa (bursitis), a small, irritated sac of fluid; neuromas (nerve growths) or other soft-tissue growths; and bruises or contusions, which involve inflammation of the tissues that cover the heel bone. A bone bruise is a sharply painful injury caused by the direct impact of a hard object or surface on the foot.

Some contributing factors associated with heel pain are age (with increasing age, often there is decreasing flexibility); any sudden change in activity (particularly activities that increase weight bearing or pressure on the foot); flat, pronated feet or high-arched feet; a sudden increase in weight; pregnancy; stress from an injury; a bruise incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; or medical conditions such as tarsal tunnel syndrome.

If you have any questions on heel pain, contact Dr. Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists.

Category: Heel Pain

Tags: Achilles Tendinitis, Arthritis, Excessive Pronation, Flat Feet, Foot Injury, foot pain, Gout, Haglund's Deformity, heel Pain, Heel Spurs, High-arched Feet, Inflamed Bursa, Neuromas, Plantar Fasciitis, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome