Heel Aches The Causes, Signs Or Symptoms And Therapy Options

Overview

Heel Pain

Heel pain is a common symptom that has many possible causes. Although Heel Pain sometimes is caused by a systemic (body-wide) illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, it usually is a local condition that affects only the foot.

Causes

In our pursuit of healthy bodies, pain can be an enemy. In some instances, however, it is of biological benefit. Pain that occurs right after an injury or early in an illness may play a protective role, often warning us about the damage we’ve suffered. When we sprain an ankle, for example, the pain warns us that the ligament and soft tissues may be frayed and bruised, and that further activity may cause additional injury. Pain, such as may occur in our heels, also alerts us to seek medical attention. This alert is of utmost importance because of the many afflictions that contribute to heel pain.

Symptoms

Initially, this pain may only be present when first standing up after sleeping or sitting. As you walk around, the muscle and tendon loosen and the pain goes away. As this problem progresses, the pain can be present with all standing and walking. You may notice a knot or bump on the back of the heel. Swelling may develop. In some cases, pressure from the back of the shoe causes pain.

Diagnosis

Depending on the condition, the cause of heel pain is diagnosed using a number of tests, including medical history, physical examination, including examination of joints and muscles of the foot and leg, X-rays.

Non Surgical Treatment

Treatment includes resting from the activities that caused the problem, doing certain stretching exercises, using pain medication and wearing open-back shoes. Your doctor may want you to use a 3/8″ or 1/2″ heel insert. Stretch your Achilles tendon by leaning forward against a wall with your foot flat on the floor and heel elevated with the insert. Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and swelling. Consider placing ice on the back of the heel to reduce inflammation.

Surgical Treatment

At most 95% of heel pain can be treated without surgery. A very low percentage of people really need to have surgery on the heel. It is a biomechanical problem and it?s very imperative that you not only get evaluated, but receive care immediately. Having heel pain is like having a problem with your eyes; as you would get glasses to correct your eyes, you should look into orthotics to correct your foot. Orthotics are sort of like glasses for the feet. They correct and realign the foot to put them into neutral or normal position to really prevent heel pain, and many other foot issues. Whether it be bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, or even ankle instability, a custom orthotic is something worth considering.

Prevention

Pain At The Heel

You can help to prevent heel pain by maintaining a healthy weight, by warming up before participating in sports and by wearing shoes that support the arch of the foot and cushion the heel. If you are prone to plantar fasciitis, exercises that stretch the Achilles tendon (heel cord) and plantar fascia may help to prevent the area from being injured again. You also can massage the soles of your feet with ice after stressful athletic activities. Sometimes, the only interventions needed are a brief period of rest and new walking or running shoes.

What Causes Heel Pain?

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Reusable Hot and Cold Gel Packs- Proven therapy for plantar fasciitis by alternating application of heat and cold coupled with massage works wonders to relieve pain , reduce swelling and promote healing. Use ice pack in morning and heat pack in the evening. NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)- These treat the symptoms and provide temporary relief but do not treat the underlying cause. Observe usual cautions and contraindications as these can have long term implications on your health. Sep 28, 2010 By Martin Hughes Photo Caption Many conditions can cause heel pain in children. Photo Credit feet image by Fotocie from Fotolia.comheel pain relief

Heel pain can have many causes. If your heel hurts, see your doctor right away to determine why and get treatment. Tell him or her exactly where you have pain and how long you’ve had it. Your doctor will examine your heel, looking and feeling for signs of tenderness and swelling. You may be asked to walk, stand on one foot or do other physical tests that help your doctor pinpoint the cause of your sore heel. Treatment includes resting from the activities that caused the problem, doing certain stretching exercises, using pain medication and wearing open back shoes.

You step out of bed and your feet scream in pain! You waddle (or maybe even crawl) across the room until the pain starts to subside. Your are active, you try to keep walking even through the pain, but the pain just gets worse. After several minutes, the pain starts to improve only to return again if you sitdown, laydown or even by the end of the day no matter what. Does this sound familiar? For many people this is a dialy occurance and is usually diagnosed as “Plantar Fasciitis”. Limit daily activity and provide additional cushioning to your foot to absorb shock. Elevate the heel to redistribute the pressure.heel pain treatment

This exercise is suitable for stretching both calf muscles. The gastrocnemius (the main muscle in the calf region) is stretched by keeping the heel of the back leg on the ground. The front leg goes well forward, keep your balance; stay tall and in this upright position, lean forward until the stretch is felt on the straight back leg. “Placing the front foot flat on a chair, the soleus (the smaller muscle in the calf) can be given an extra stretch. Push the bent knee forward with the hands until the muscle starts to feel a little tight.

Causes And Treatment Overview For Back Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is pain and inflammation of the connective tissue which runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. The pain from this condition is worse in the morning before your foot has had a chance to limber up. Plantar fasciitis is most prevalent in runners, pregnant women, and in those who wear shoes with inadequate sole cushioning. Heel bursitis is inflammation of the bursa (small fluid-filled sac) that lies over the head of the heel bone. The pain from this condition worsens with walking. This can cause pain, redness and tenderness around the heel bone.

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Because there are several potential causes, it is important to have heel pain properly diagnosed. A foot and ankle surgeon is able to distinguish between all the possibilities and determine the underlying source of your heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. In this condition, the fascia first becomes irritated and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain. The most common cause of plantar fasciitis relates to faulty structure of the foot. For example, people who have problems with their arches, either overly flat feet or high-arched feet, are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis.

Treatment of heel pain normally starts with application of anti inflammatory ointment together with pain killer tablets. If the pain persists then some steroid is injected. One such steroid is Cortisone which is quite anti inflammatory. This is injected into the heel bone and it starts to give good results instantly. Local anesthesia also helps in providing relief for a long time. This kind of treatment lasts for a few weeks and is not a perfect solution to correct the pain problem. Podiatrist care – a podiatrist can remove excess callous on the bunion to provide more comfort to the area before you put you get into your holiday shoes.

Acute pain in the heel can result from a stress fracture in the heel that closely resembles the pain of plantar fasciitis. However, according to American Family Physicians, the history may reveal a recent abrupt increase in activity or running distance. Pain will be felt on standing and walking but can be elicited when the physician places pressure on the sides of the heel. Activity should be limited, and patients should wear supportive athletic shoes for three weeks. If the pain has not subsided by then, the physician may recommend a removable cast boot. Sever’s Disease