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Different types of heel pain explained

Why do people get heel pain?

When you walk or run, the heel absorbs the shock. This is what the heel was designed to do; however, excessive walking and running combined with your body weight can cause a series of heel pain. Heel pains are generally caused by small but repetitive mechanical injuries that happen so fast that the body cannot heal them and as a result, they turn into foot problems.

Different types of heel pain

There are many different types of heel pain; however, some of the most common ones include:


Heel Spur

A calcium deposit that builds up under the heel bone is known as a heel spur. The spur itself is painless but it can cause heel pain. Heel spurs are caused when there is a build-up of calcium deposits under the heel bone. This normally happens when the foot muscles or ligaments are strained. For example, athletes who are involved in a lot of running and jumping on a daily basis are most likely to get heel spurs.


Plantar Fasciitis This is one of the most common causes of heel pain. If when you wake up in the morning and feel a lot of pain under the heel of the foot when you take your first few steps after getting out of your bed, you are most likely suffering from this foot condition. Plantar Fasciitis results when the plantar fascia which is a tissue band that connects the heel of the foot to the bases of the toes becomes damaged and inflamed. This normally happens dues to excessive walking and running or overweight which places a lot of stress on this foot ligament causing it to tear. 

Achilles Tendonitis

This is another common foot problem and is caused when the Achilles tendon is placed under more pressure that it was designed for, causing it to tear. Not sure what the Achilles tendon is? Well, the Achilles tendon which is also known as a calcaneal tendon is a band of tissues that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is the strongest and the largest tendon in the body but despite its strength, it can easily become damaged due to excessive strength. Small tears in the Achilles tendon which is not allowed to heal by the body will gradually develop into a swelling and will result in the painful condition known as Achilles Tendonitis.

Severs Disease


Heel pain is mostly common in middle aged adults; however, young children can also suffer from heel pain. Severs Disease is heel pain in young children and normally affects children who are between the ages of 8 and 12 whose bones are still in the process of growing. This condition normally occurs when there is a temporary blood loss to a part of the heel. This causes the bone to die. When the blood supply is restore, the bone reforms but because the natural growth process was interrupted, the bone can cause severe pain at times. 

Simple self-care heel pain measures

If you are suffering from heel pain, there are some simple self-care measures that you can take that will help with the pain.

First of all, try to determine if the pain is cause by a particular shoe that you are wearing. If this is the cause, stop wearing those shoes for a while and see if the pain will stop.

For women, if the pain is caused by high heel shoes, avoid these. Wear shoes that have slightly raised heel. 

Use a heel cushion which will reduce the pressure placed on your heel while walking or running or Use  orthotics which are custom foot support designed to support the arch in your foot and balance the biomechanical inadequacies in the foot. 

Do not walk on hard surfaces which will cause more shock on the heel and if you have been walking or running excessively, stop for a while.

What should you do if the pain persists?

If after trying the above self-care measures, the pain still persists, it is time for you to see a professional. Podiatrists or Chiropodists specializes in heel pain and will make sure that you receive the right treatment after examining your condition. They will be able to determine the cause of the heel pain and will prescribe proper treatment. It is important that you do see a podiatrist or a chiropodist if your heel pain persists and you cannot figure out the cause. Sometimes, heel pain is caused by other parts of your body other than the foot. For example, pain in the lower back can cause heel pain as well but only a professional will be able to determine the correct cause of your heel pain.


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