Heel pain is a common medical condition that can range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. It most often occurs in the heel or arch of the foot. A variety of conditions, including plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendinitis, reactive arthritis, gout, and stress fractures, can cause it. Heel pain can also be caused by trauma or injury to the area. The most common type of Heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is a condition where the ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed and causes pain in the heel and arch of your foot when you walk or stand for long periods. The pain caused by plantar fasciitis typically worsens with activity and improves with rest.
Other causes include heel spurs, bony growths on the underside of your heel bone that can cause stabbing pain when walking or running; Achilles tendinitis; Reactive arthritis; Gout; and Stress fractures. Heel pain can be treated in various ways – from rest and stretching exercises to wearing supportive footwear or taking anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy using modalities such as ultrasound may help, along with steroid injections for inflammation reduction. Surgery is sometimes necessary to address any structural issues causing the discomfort.
For a successful recovery from heel pain, wearing supportive shoes is essential, as well as icing and applying heat where appropriate. Finding a balance between relaxing activity and strengthening exercises for the feet can also help reduce inflammation after an episode of pain while keeping your muscles flexible to prevent future recurrences.