Though you may take them for granted, you wouldn’t be able to stand or participate in many activities without feet. These appendages support your weight and allow you to be mobile. Each part of your foot plays a role, too, and two crucial areas for stability and movement are your arches and heels. Of course, this also means heel and arch pain can limit your mobility.
Heel pain is a general term for anything that causes discomfort in your heel. The underlying condition can affect your bone, tendons, muscles, or nerves in the area. Some sources of a heel problem are more common than others. They all share one thing, though: they create discomfort in the back of the foot. In some cases the pain is significant enough that you lose mobility and strength in your lower limbs.
Arch pain can be connected to the conditions that cause heel issues as well. Sometimes this develops because the biomechanical problems that create heel discomfort also affect your arches. Other times they are connected because a condition in the arches add strain to your heels. In either case, your stability and overall comfort are compromised.
Here are a few of the most common culprits that may lead to heel and arch pain:
Achilles Tendinitis – This is a problem with inflammation, swelling, and tightening in your Achilles tendon. It pulls on the back of your heel and can create pain and biomechanical difficulties.
Bone Spurs – These hard bumps develop when a bone is under heavy pressure and friction. They frequently appear on the bottom and back of the heel bone.
Flat Feet – When arches are lower than normal, they don’t absorb pressure or shock efficiently. This can lead to aching pain and contribute to a number of overuse injuries.
Injuries – Problems like broken bones and stress fractures are extremely uncomfortable and can make it difficult for you to walk.
Plantar Fasciitis – The most common cause of heel pain, this is a problem with irritation, stiffening, shortening, and swelling in the ligament that attaches your toes to your heel. The more it swells, the more it pulls on your heel bone and causes discomfort.
Sever’s Disease – This condition only affects children. Pressure on the back of the heel inflames the growth plate there, causing pain when your child is active.
The specific treatment for your heel pain will depend on the condition affecting your feet. Our specialists will carefully evaluate your lower limbs to identify the specific issue that is causing your discomfort. Then our experienced staff will work with you to plan out targeted treatment to accommodate the condition.
Treatments range from physical therapy stretches and exercises to simply changing your shoes. Custom orthotics help correct biomechanical problems, support your arch, and cushion the back of your foot as well. You might need to take a break from your regular activities, particularly if they are high-impact sports. Additional remedies like ice and taping may provide benefit, too. We often recommend medication for stubborn pain. Only rarely is surgery required.
Heel and arch pain tends to need invested care to improve. Fortunately, most conditions do get better with conservative treatments. Let Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona help you. Just contact either of our two offices and see what we can do for your lower limbs.