Oh, my aching Heel!! The combination of foot and ankle consists of 26 bones, 33 joints and an excess of 100 tendons. The longest bone present in the foot is the heel. Over usage or injury to the heel would lead you to experience pain in the heels. The severity of heel pain can range from mild to excruciating.
The cause behind heel pain is typically associated with excess usage of the heel bone. Straining of your heel occurs if you excessively pound your feet on surfaces that are hard, or you are overweight or even if you wear shoes that do not fit properly. These strains cause irritation in the muscles, bones or tendons that are present in the heels. Some of the other common causes include:
Physical therapy, medication or alternative treatments can be used to treat this form of pain. Medications for heel pain can only be in the form of anti-inflammatory drugs. Although these oral medications cannot significantly relieve heel pain, some injections containing substances such as corticosteroids, as well as Arthrocentesis (removal of fluid present in joints using hollow needles) might be able to provide relief. Recently, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection have been found very useful in treating recalcitrant Plantar fasciitis and heel pains.
Common practices that can be used to relieve discomfort include:
Heel pain is the most common cause in females from the last 30 -40 years. It can decrease the quality of life.
Advanced treatments which can bypass a lot of analgesics are -
1. Platelet-rich plasma injection using ultrasound
2. Local anesthetic with steroid injection under ultrasound guidance
The toes and heels are the most loads bearing components within your feet which take most of the weight when walking, running, exercising or even standing up. The heels are an especially vulnerable part of the body which can become painful either due to injuries or excessive stress put on it. Pain in your heels can also be a sign of other problems in your body.
Causes for heel pain:
1. Sprains or straining the leg: Exercising is one of the most common culprits behind heel damage. Wearing the wrong shoes over prolonged periods, which can cause your balance to be shifted and will lead you to put strain on your heels and cause pain. Falling or spraining during exercising or training can also cause heel pain.
2. Fractures: Stress or hairline fractures can occur even without impacts or trauma and also cause pain. It will slowly build up over time. In such cases, you should immediately consult a doctor and take remedial action.
3. Achilles tendon: A common cause of heel pain, the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel. If this is torn or damaged, it can cause pain in your heel.
4. Arthritis: The deposition of uric acid crystals in parts of your body may result in arthritis; this is a fairly common cause for heel pain as well.
1. Change in shoes: Shoes play a major role in the development of heel pain. You will either need to change the shoes or adjust the heels to ensure that they are at an equal and comfortable height and keep your posture natural and balanced.
2. Foot supports: There are specialized heel supports and wedges, which you can wear with the footwear. These supports help redistribute weight from the problem areas and uniformly distribute it among the other parts of the foot. Heel cups are also another form of supports you could try.
4. Resting: Sometimes resting is the only medication you can take to relieve the pain as it can only subside once the underlying conditions are corrected.
5. Ice packs: Cold compress and cold therapy would definitely help in numbing the area and providing temporary pain relief.
It is, however, advisable to visit the doctor if the pain persists and take specialized medical care in more complicated cases wherein the pain is prolonged.