Heel Pain Causes

Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Spurs induced Heel Pain

Heel pain can be caused by various reasons. Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs are the most common form of heel pain. Though identical, both these form have slightly different characteristic.

Plantar Fasciitis is caused due to irregular stretching and development of tears that causes inflammation of long, flat ligaments present on the foot bottom. In this condition the pain is dull aching or sharp and may be reproduced by fascia tensing and upward flexing of toes.

A Heel Spur is a form of growth of bone, which develops on the outside of heel bone where the ligaments of plantar fascia are attached. Inflammation of plantar fascia caused by bone growth or calcification may also lead to occurrence of heel spurs. Small hook shape, irritation of surrounding soft tissues and pain are the main characteristic of such heel spurs.

Though the plantar fascia is associated with numerous sturdy connective tissue cables (collagen fibers), this is not immune to injury. Actually, approximately 5 to 10 percent of injuries related to exercise and athletic are fascia inflammations. Athletic individuals, overweight and middle aged people are considered to be on higher risk of developing plantar problems. People who become active suddenly after prolonged lethargy period and those who spend more time of their feet may also develop this condition.

Development of both, Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis is gradual. One may experience heel pain immediately after moving after prolonged sitting position or getting out of bed. Such pain and inflammation may worsen if plantar fascia ligament is not rested. Repetitive walking stress, jumping, standing or running are some of the other conditions that could aggravate pain and inflammation. If you do not forbid the aggravating activities completely, after experiencing the onset of condition, this may lead to persisting inflamed condition of ligament.

There are various factors related with occurrence of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. These factors may affect the way of feet striking ground (gait) which could further lead to additional injury. Some of the common factors are reduction in flexibility of ankle and foot (biomechanical factor), muscle strength imbalances, Achilles tendon tightness and abnormal foot mechanics. All these factors are outcome of:

Improper training and repetitive sports activities

  • Wearing worn out shoes
  • Increase in weight
  • Prolonged times spent on feet and waling or running steep hills
  • Wearing shoes without arch support or cushion
  • Abrupt change in duration or intensity of athletic activities

Treatment

Use of painkillers, massaging, calf stretching, icing sore heel, using comfortable shoes, weight loss and decreased activities are some of the traditional remedies. Use of heel pad or cup for eliminating the condition and regaining mobility, is most common treatment. This treatment is comparatively cheaper and less complicated.

Whenever you experience pain in heel, never ignore it. It may be due to Plantar Fasciitis or Heel Spurs. Consult your doctor, get it treated and achieve early relief.