Clear Step Podiatry

The causes of Heel Pain

There are multiple activities that older and younger people practice that may cause heel pain. There are two main sources of heel pain either from plantar fasciitis the underside of the heel or Achilles tendinitis. Knowing the cause of the pain is very important before going through the steps of how to heal the pain.

What is Achilles Tendinitis?

It is damage to the Achilles tendon, the thick band that connects the muscles at the back of your leg to the back of your heel bone. The Achilles tendon plays an important role in helping us walk and run, so this damage can make it more difficult to perform daily tasks.

Pain is generally present at the back of the heel, and can radiate up the back of the leg. Running (particularly uphill) and other physical activities will worsen the pain, and stiffness may be experienced at the back of the leg. Initially, there may be some swelling, but the pain can continue even when the swelling has subsided.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

It is one of the most common causes of heel pain and describes the irritation or degeneration of a tissue that attaches from the bottom of your heel and spans out like a fan to your toes, called your plantar fascia.

Stretching or not getting a proper warm up prior to any exercise can be a huge mistake!  Not stretching or warming up properly is one of the main causes of injuries including heel pain.

Sports that require a lot of moving, stopping and changing direction suddenly apply more stress on the feet, which can cause heel pain. Netball, football and tennis are examples of sports that may cause a higher risk of Achilles tendinitis or Plantar Fasciitis.

Footwear plays a huge role in allowing or preventing heel pain. If your footwear doesn’t give you proper support while exercising then there is a high chance you will experience heel pain. Avoid old worn shoes when exercising. Comfort and support don’t always mean an expensive brand name. Wearing heels for a long period of time will definitely cause heel pain! Make sure you are giving yourself a break.

Increasing your physical activity suddenly without properly training, may also allow a high risk of injury. Running is an important exercise for many but running up hill may contribute towards heel pain. If you don’t usually run up hill, then you shouldn’t hit the very first big hill you see.  Running up hill with no training will cause unwanted heel pain.

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