The heel is the largest bone in the foot and responsible for bearing the weight of the entire body. Many people develop heel pain at some point in their lives, whether on the underside or back of the heel. In most cases, heel pain is not a symptom of a serious underlying health condition. However, it can affect a person’s quality of life, including the ability to stand, walk or exercise without discomfort.
Did you know…
many conditions that cause heel pain can be avoided by wearing properly fitted shoes? Many people wear the wrong types and sizes of shoes, resulting in crowding and poor foot support. To get the right fit, shop at the end of the day rather than in the morning, and always try on shoes before buying to ensure you have plenty of toe room. Avoid high heels when possible, and look for shoes with an adjustable fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of conditions can cause heel pain?
Heel pain can be caused by many different conditions, some more common than others. Often, patients who visit a podiatrist for heel pain are suffering from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. However, other conditions can also cause heel pain, including bone fractures, excessive pronation, gout, bursitis, fibromyalgia, arthritis and peripheral neuropathy.
When should I see a podiatrist about my heel pain?
You should see a podiatrist for heel pain that persists for several weeks despite efforts to rest, ice and to elevate your feet at home. You should also contact your doctor about heel pain that continues when you are not standing or pain that is severe and occurs with swelling.
What types of treatments are available for people with heel pain?
Your podiatrist will examine your foot and may use diagnostic imaging to determine the cause of your heel pain. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be instructed to rest the heel, wear different shoes, use foot orthotics, or undergo physical therapy. In some cases, patients require additional interventions, such as steroid injections or surgery.