Common Causes of Heel Pain: What Can I Do to Prevent It?
Common Causes of Heel Pain
The most common causes of heel pain are plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, but what other sources can cause heel pain? Other causes include, but are not limited to:
- Heel spur
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Stress fractures
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Before we discuss how to prevent heel pain, let’s dive into what each one of these symptoms include.
Peripheral neuropathy is weakness, numbness, and pain from nerve damage, usually in the hands and feet. Symptoms include pain, a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness, and weakness.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The inflamed tissue runs across the bottom of the foot. Symptoms include stabbing pain near the heel.
Achilles tendinitis is an injury of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Symptoms include heel pain and tenderness.
A heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone. This is often cause by ill-fitting shoes, and symptoms can include pain.
A stress fracture is a tiny crack in a bone caused by repetitive stress or force and can even develop from normal use of a bone that is weakened by a condition. Symptoms include swelling and pain, which worsens over time.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TSS)
TTS is ankle pain due to a compressed nerve, which usually develops as a result of a prior ankle injury. Symptoms include a burning pain at the sole of a foot and numbness or tingling at the base off the foot.
What Can I Do to Prevent Heel Pain?
It is very important to think of your feet prior to doing any activity that requires you to use them. The toes have muscles that power their movement and play a large role in balance, but many muscles that power the foot’s movement originate all the way up to the back of the knee. To try and prevent pain or injury as best as possible, consider doing the following:
- Wear proper shoes. Proper shoes include ones that fit and support your foot.
- Wear supportive shoes for physical activity.
- Stretch before going to bed and after waking up each morning (toe stretches).
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Rest when you feel tired or when your muscles ache.
- Drink plenty of water. Cells that do not maintain their balance in fluids shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. Water also energizes your muscles, lubricates your joints, and speeds up recovery time (strength building).