Heel pain doesn't only occur after you've fallen or been in an accident. Sometimes, pain can seem to occur for no obvious reason. The foot doctors at Family Foot & Ankle Associates of Maryland in Olney, Silver Spring, Clinton and Kensington, MD, discuss common heel pain causes and share treatment options.
A stone bruise
Metatarsalgia, commonly known as a stone bruise, can affect the ball of your foot or your heel. The pain occurs when the fat pad that cushions your heel becomes bruised because you stepped on a hard object or put too much pressure on your heel due to worn out or poorly fitting running or walking shoes.
Overuse injuries are a common cause of heel pain. Pain develops when you decide it's time to get healthy and jump right into an ambitious work out schedule or increase the intensity or duration of your usual workout. Because these conditions don't occur as result of a dramatic injury, you may be unaware of the cause. Overuse injuries can cause a variety of conditions, including:
- Retrocalcaneal Bursitis: The back of your heel is cushioned by a small, fluid-filled sac. Thanks to this sac, your Achilles tendon can glide over your heel bone easily. An overuse injury can cause the bursa to become inflamed, resulting in pain when you walk, run or move your foot up and down.
- Achilles Tendinitis: Achilles tendinitis occurs when your Achilles tendon becomes inflamed. Although an overuse injury may be to blame for the condition, your risk of developing Achilles tendinitis rises with age. Tight calf muscles and flat feet may also increase your risk. In some cases, you may have both Achilles tendinitis and retrocalcaneal bursitis.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis can be caused by an overuse injury, but has other risk factors. You're more likely to develop it if you're over 40, stand for long periods of time or have diabetes. The condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a tough band of tissue that joins your heel to your toes, becomes inflamed.
Easing the pain
Ice, rest and over-the-counter pain medications are often all you need to relieve heel pain. If your pain continues for more than a week or two or is severe, schedule an appointment in our Olney, Silver Spring, Clinton or Kensington office. Although your treatment plan will depend on your condition, you may benefit from physical therapy, orthotics, corticosteroid injections, or shockwave therapy or other treatments.
Stop your heel pain with a visit to the foot doctor. Schedule an appointment with the foot doctors at Family Foot & Ankle by calling (301) 924-5044 for the Olney office; (301) 439-0300 for the Silver Spring office; (301) 868-7670 for the Clinton office; or (301) 942-8110 for the Kensington office.