What causes heel pain?
The other causes of heel pain include
- Vitamin D deficiency causing weak muscles of the leg and foot
- Weakness of the calf muscle due to inactivity; this causes swelling of the tail of the muscle at the heels
- Stress fracture (due to very long marches, walks over uneven areas)
- Arthritis (wear and tear of ankle joint)
- Achilles tendonitis (swelling of a muscle at the ball of the feet)
- Trapped nerve (compression of the small nerve)
- Cyst (a type of swelling)
- Peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of blood vessels supplying the heel)
- Sever’s disease (occurs in children due to injury to the growth plate of the heel bone)
- Vigorous physical activity
- Calcaneal apophysitis (the center of the heel bone is irritated due to new shoes or high athletic activity)
- Bursitis (inflammation of a sac that lines many joints)
- Pump bump (abnormal bony growth at the back of the heel)
- Prolonged standing
- Stone bruise
How is heel pain treated?
- Applying an ice pack to the affected area several times a day
- Temporary rest from activities
- Using properly fitting shoes
- Using heel pads and heel cushions (especially silicon insoles)
- Performing stretching exercises in the morning
- Doing regular physical activity to strengthen leg muscles
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as Tylenol or Motril (ibuprofen)
If these conservative treatments do not reduce the heel pain, then consult the doctor. The doctor might do certain blood tests to check Vitamin D levels and thyroid levels. An X-Ray may be done to rule out stress fracture or to check for the spur.
If a need arises, the physician might perform surgery to treat the underlying conditions or to release the trapped nerves.
How can you prevent heel pain?
You cannot prevent all types of heel pain, yet most heel pain can be prevented with the following methods
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Wearing proper-fitting shoes
- Maintaining proper posture during walking and running
- Warming up before participating in sports
- Doing stretching exercises to prevent injury to muscles
- Massaging the soles after prolonged standing or high-impact activities
- Giving brief periodic rest to heels when tired
- Wearing the right shoes for physical activity
When to call a doctor?
Heel pain may get better with rest and other home remedies. However, if the pain doesn’t go away within two to three weeks, you should immediately contact the doctor. Also, call the physician if you observe the following symptoms
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