The heel can be a big deal
Heel pain can be a nuisance, but it is often one of those problems you might ignore for too long.
And as with most aches and pains, it can be caused by a variety of different things. It is, therefore, important to pinpoint the specific cause.
But whilst you shouldn’t rule out stress fractures, arthritis or even nerve damage, there tends to be one very common cause.
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common problem.
But what is it? And how can it be treated?
Heel Pain and plantar fasciitis
The heel plays an important role when walking or running. Among other things, it helps absorb shock and allows you to spring forward for the next step.
Strong ligaments connect the heel to the front of the foot and the toes. The strongest of all these ligaments is called the plantar fascia.
Ligaments always connect bone to bone. They are made up of dense and strong connective tissue and help with stability
Because of this, they can exert a lot of pressure at the point where they attach to a bone. If the muscles of the foot or the calf become tightened they can cause further problems.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when this connective tissue becomes inflamed and painful.
But what causes plantar fasciitis?
The primary cause is related to stress on the feet. It happens a lot in people who spend a large slice of their time on their feet.
It can also be heightened if you are overweight. And it is a common complaint of recreational runners.
There are other factors that can contribute to the problem as well. Unsurprisingly, high heels can aggravate the condition. But also shoes with worn or unpadded heels can have an effect.
And it is a condition that is associated with either tight calves or a tight Achilles. So poor posture or a lack of stretching will not help your cause.
How can you ease the pain?
The most immediate thing you should do is spend less time on your feet. If you are a runner, for example, you are going to have to take a total rest from running until you can manage the problem.
Look to wear shoes or footwear with shock absorbing material in the heel if possible. Alternatively, insoles or heel pads are available at most chemist. They are inexpensive, and can greatly reduce impact to the heel on a daily basis.
As a temporary measure, you can try rolling a golf ball underneath the foot and around the part of the heel that is in pain. The amount of pressure you exert should cause mild discomfort but not shooting pain. This can be a good way to start breaking down scar tissue.
For a full recovery, and to avoid having a repeat of the condition, it is worth getting some professional advice.
A Physiotherapist can help with stretches and exercises that will help your recovery. And massage is also a great way to relieve tension in the calves and help to remove scar tissue in the affected area.
As always, don’t leave it to chance. It is best to tackle the problem before it gets worse than it needs to be.
Get the right treatment, and you can be back on your feet (pain free) in no time.