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Heel pain is a very common foot complaint and may involve injury to the bone, fat pad, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Heel pain can also be referred by a pinched nerve in your lower back.
It is important to have your heel pain thoroughly assessed to ensure an accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Anyone can suffer from heel pain, but certain groups seem to be at increased risk, including:
Middle aged men and women
Active people eg running sports
People who are very overweight
Children aged between 8 and 13 years
People who stand for long periods of time.
Common sources of heel pain
Achilles tendon rupture
Achilles tendonitis / tendinitis
High ankle sprain
Muscle strain (muscle pain)
Stress fracture feet
Common causes of heel pain?
Some of the many causes of heel pain can include:
Abnormal walking style (such as rolling the feet inwards)
Ill-fitting shoes eg narrow toe, worn out shoes
Standing, running or jumping on hard surfaces
Recent changes in exercise program
Heel trauma eg. Stress fractures
Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa)
Health disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.
Heel pain treatment
Most heel pain is caused by a combination of poor biomechanics, or muscle weakness or tightness. The good news is that heel pain can be effectively managed once the cause is identified.
Most heel pain can be successfully treated via:
Pain and pressure relief techniques
Biomechanical correction eg orthotics, taping, foot posture exercises
Muscle stretches and massage
Lower limb muscle strengthening
Proprioceptive and balance exercises to stimulate your foot intrinsic muscles.
If you feel that your footwear or sports training schedule are potentially causing your heel pain, then we recommend that you seek the advice of a sports physiotherapist, podiatrist or trained footwear specialist (not just a shop assistant) to see if your shoe is a match for your foot; or discuss your training regime to see if you are doing too much.
Heel pain and injury are extremely common. With accurate assessment and early treatment most heel pain injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy allowing you to quickly resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living.
Please ask you physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.
My tailbone hurts when I sit a certain way and it only hurts at the top of my buttcrack. I never fell on it or anything, but I can feel a bone on the top of my buttcrack that hurts even when I touch it. My buttcrack also is wet in the area hours after I have showered. I am not sure what the issue is but the liquid is coming from somewhere and smells really bad and I am in pain. Any idea how to treat this?
I have low Vit. D- 29.1 .And have body pains. Please suggest how much IU I should take daily and food .
I had a dog bite on my leg. I hv Completed my 4 doses of vaccinations in 21st July of given schedule on 0 3 7 28. But now I start getting so panic at bite site, my head also pains, weakness all over the body, and tingling at the bite site and injection site. I also feel pain in fingers. So is there any chance of failure of vaccine? So plzz help me. What should I do. Bcz if there is any serious problem occurring then I don't have so much time.
I cannot sleep at night for the past few weeks and feel very tired without doing much work and suffer bouts ofbody ache. What should I do?
Most diseases, small or big, acute or chronic, accident or infection, have one common factor - pain. In most cases, in addition to reducing the severity of the infection or the impact to various structures from the trauma, managing pain assumes a bigger role. It is only when the pain is controlled can the bigger picture of disease management be done, as the patient would be inconsolable.
To this effect, in addition to pain killers, the most inexpensive and easily available modes of pain management are heat and cold. Though all are not aware, there are specific instances where heat and cold should be used as listed below.
Heat: Some of the common modes to heat therapy include heat pads, warm baths, paraffin wax system, hot water bottles, air-activated heat pack, or warm oils. Heat acts by improving blood circulation and nutritional supply to the body parts and is best suited for stiff joints and muscle soreness.
Some common ways to heat therapy include:
- A warm shower or bath in the morning - this will ease morning stiffness and get you ready for exercise.
- Apply a heating pad on the sore/stiff areas for up to 20 minutes - Use optimal, bearable temperature to avoid skin burns.
- Wrap the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes with a moist heat pad. A wet towel can be put in the freezer and then warmed up in the microwave. Moist heat pads are also available with local pharmacies.
- Warm mineral oils can be applied to the stiff joints of hands and legs. Leave it in place for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
- For sore hand and foot joints, warm paraffin wax can be applied using the equipment available at drug stores. This will help ease the pain and soreness. Soak in a warm whirlpool.
Contrary to heat therapy, cold therapy acts by reducing blood flow to the affected area and numbing the nerve endings, thereby reducing the perception of pain. It works well for acute pain cases like fresh injuries and post-exercise inflammation.
- A cold wrap with ice cubes can be applied to the painful area for about 15 to 20 minutes. This can be repeated if required after a break.
- Alternately, a wet towel can be put in a plastic bag and kept in the freezer for 15 minutes and then used as a cold pack.
- The affected joint can be submerged in a container of ice and water.
- Cold gel packs are available at stores - these won't leak, will stay cold longer and can be easily wrapped around a joint.
Cryotherapy, as cold therapy is also called, is not as effective as heat therapy, though it does provide immediate relief.
Being flexible is not always about doing splits or doing some random bending. It is about achieving a level of mobility that will not hold you back from doing whatever you are able to do. Most people think that stretching or flexing your muscles and body as the first method to defend you from pain. But if stretching and flexing can be done correctly, it can lengthen one's muscles and give one relief from pains and aches. Stretching is also done to increase the functional range of one's joints and muscles. There are various ways by which one can stretch their muscles. However, the question which looms over here is which is the correct procedure and which is the wrong one.
The wrong vs the right way: Before discussing about the correct way, let us talk about the various wrong ways in which stretching can be done. The first rule is that if stretching is causing you pain or if it is hurting you, then you are probably taking it too far. A muscle needs to relax as much as possible, if it needs to stretch. If one is stretching so hard that he or she cannot relax then the muscle will not lengthen. Stretching should never be painful.
One should also avoid stretching for an insufficient length of time. Only a few seconds of stretching will not hold the therapeutic effects of stretching.
The following methods are few of the correct ways to stretch:
- Always start with the warm muscles. Warm your muscles by doing some aerobic movement or by applying heat with the help of a warm bath.
- After warming your muscles, monitor your level of discomfort. Let it go once you feel pain.
- Hold any stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Stretching the correct muscle: There are muscles, which need to be stretched and there are muscles, which should not be. So getting to know the correct muscles to be stretched is as important as knowing the correct procedure to stretch your muscles. Every muscle, which does not hurt should not be stretched. There are different types of muscles that cause pain like stiff, tight, short muscles and long muscles. Muscles that are tight should only be subjected to stretching. Stretching muscles that are too long is not a good idea.
- Using physiotherapists: Most people who cannot determine which muscle should be stretched and which should not be, should consult a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists can quickly and easily diagnose muscular issues. They will also show ways to stretch which are most effective for particular needs.
- Stretching should be made a part of one's life. It is a way by which one can become their healthiest self and avoid muscular imbalances.