Wound Care

The Most Common Causes of Heel Pain When Walking

The Most Common Causes of Heel Pain When Walking

Posted On: June 17, 2022

One in five people in the United States suffers from heel pain when walking.

But a lot of people don’t know where the pain comes from. When they don’t know where the pain comes from, there’s no way to properly find heel pain relief.

If you’re looking to get heel pain relief, this article has some of the most common causes of heel pain that you may be experiencing!

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common reasons for pain in the heel when walking is because of plantar fasciitis.

The thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia, is what connects the heel bone to the toes. While this band of tissue is normally intact and does not cause pain, when it becomes inflamed, it can become very painful.

If you start to notice dull heel pain, especially after spending a lot of time on your feet walking around or standing for a long period of time. However, after spending some time sitting or sleeping, when you go to get up, you may experience more pain than before.

Upon physical examination, doctors can usually tell if you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. If that is the case, icing and foot exercises can help relieve some of the pain.

If your plantar fasciitis pain is keeping you from your daily activities your doctor at Graff: Foot, Ankle & Wound Care may recommend that you opt for injections and custom orthotics. Surgery is an option for severe plantar fasciitis pain if the pain has not been relieved with conservative treatments.

Stress Fracture

One of the biggest reasons for a stress fracture is the overuse of the area. A stress fracture in the heel area means that there are tiny cracks in the bones of the heel.

Sometimes stress fractures occur because of excessive running or jumping too much. However, they can also occur when people have weakened bones from osteoporosis or another issue. You may be at a higher risk to develop a stress fracture if you are older, overweight, or have a high or low arch.

So how do you know if your heel pain is a stress fracture? Contact Graff: Foot, Ankle & Wound Care at (972) 403-7733 for an appointment.

If you have sharp, recurring pain and it continues to get worse during activity, it is most likely a stress fracture. If the pain gets better as you go through the activity, it may not be a stress fracture.

Achilles Tendinitis

The largest tendon in the body, the Achilles, connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. When inflammation occurs, this tendon can become tender, swollen, and painful.

Insertional Achilles tendinitis is a type of Achilles tendinitis that occurs at the bottom of the heel bone where the tendon attaches directly to the heel bone.

If you are diagnosed with Achilles tendinitis because of pain in this area, your treatment plan will consist of extended periods of rest and icing the inflamed area. If you are an athlete or work out a lot, it is recommended that you stop any and all activities that cause excessive pain to the area.

Ice and compression daily will also help with the swelling and pain. When lying down, elevating the foot can also help with the swelling.

If you have Achilles tendinitis, the last thing you want to do is ignore the pain because this can lead to Achilles tendon rupture, which will put you in a boot for quite some time, or worse, needing surgery.

To prevent Achilles tendinitis, it is imperative that you stretch and warm-up before more difficult workouts. Wearing proper supportive shoes and custom orthotics can also ensure your foot is in the proper position when being psychically active.

Bursitis

Every person has bursae between their tendons, muscles, and bones. These tiny fluid-filled sacs reduce the friction that would otherwise be there without them.

However, when they become inflamed in your heel, you develop a condition called retrocalcaneal bursitis. Much like a stress fracture, the pain will be at the bottom of your heel.

If you run uphill repetitively or increase your activities quickly, this can cause the bursa in your heels to become inflamed.

If this happens, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from getting worse or happening again in the future.

Getting custom-made orthotics can encourage proper foot position when walking, running, or participating in physical activity. You should also spend time in physical therapy to properly stretch your heel. By seeing a podiatrist at Graff: Foot, Ankle & Wound Care, you will know what stretches are best for you without overdoing them or hurting your foot even more.

The last resort would be surgery. Although rare, surgery would occur if the pain continues after a prolonged period of time. At this point, you would want to consult a surgeon to remove the affected bursa.

Reasons for Heel Pain When Walking

With so many people experiencing heel pain when walking, one would think that you would know the reason for it.

However, many people live with the pain and continue doing what they want to do even if they suffer from back of heel bone pain.

If you do experience heel pain, it is best not to continue the activity and to consult Graff: Foot, Ankle & Wound Care. If you are ready to book an appointment to get heel pain relief, contact us by visiting our site or calling us at (972) 403-7733.