The most common causes of heel pain are:
- Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a strong ligament that runs from the heel bone to the tip of the foot and should act something like a shock absorber. This can become inflamed through stretching, causing foot pain which is more likely to come on after a period of rest.
Causing burning pain deep inside the back of the heel, this condition can come about from landing badly on the heels or from pressure from footwear - pain usually gets worse throughout the day.
- Heel Spur
This is an excess of bone that can form on the heel bone itself and is associated with plantar fasciitis. Many patients with plantar fasciitis have a heel spur but many patients without these symptoms can have a heel spur too.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
This large nerve in the back of the foot can become pinched or compressed, often by a cyst. Pain can happen all along the nerve including pain in the heel.
- Chronic Inflammation of the Heel Pad
This can be caused by the heel pad becoming too thin or by walking heavily on the heel.
- Active lifestyle
Those who spend a lot of time on their feet throughout the day can experience tired, aching feet that may lead to heel problems. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, try to take regular breaks where you allow your feet to rest for a 10-15 minutes. Amopé GelActiv™ insole gel help to reduce the pressure we put on our feet and provide more support with extra cushioning.
Why does it affect the back?
Usually, any discomfort felt throughout the back will come about because we naturally (and sometimes subconsciously) alter the way we walk to try to relieve heel pain. A change to our usual gait will soon have an effect – cartilage in the joints can wear down, ligaments and tendons can be stretched further than you’re used to and, if this isn’t addressed, it could lead to arthritis. Make sure you watch out for any misalignment.
How do I treat heel pain?
Icing: Use an icepack on your heel for 20 minutes before and after exercise or long periods of activity.
Stretching: Stretch your calf muscles by standing facing a wall, stepping back with one foot keeping the heel down, leaning forward towards the wall until a comfortable pull is felt in the back of the lower leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.
Alternate Exercise: Runners and joggers are particularly susceptible to heel pain. Try swimming, cycling or more gentle forms of exercise for a while and always use heel cushions in your sneakers. If the pain returns once you go back to running and jogging, you may need to consider exercising more gently on a permanent basis or see a specialist if the pain persists.