Heel pain: What it is, why it happens and how to treat it

There are many things you can do to prevent heel pain.

Are you someone who suffers from heel pain?

While there are other health problems that get more media attention than this, there’s no denying just how sore and painful our heels can get.

In fact, Science Direct suggests that as many as a quarter of all older people are living with heel pain.

Given that people use their feet constantly throughout the day, it can make even the simplest of tasks a nightmare.

There are a number of reasons why you could be suffering from sore heals. CNN reports that because people have been walking on their feet their whole lives, it’s not uncommon to come across some feet and heel problems in your later years

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By the time people are 50, it’s estimated that they’ve already walked 120,700km (75,000 miles), with some 64,373km (40,000) to go.

Worryingly, many people fail to seek medical attention for their heel pain. Given that there usually aren’t any visible signs of the pain, people think their pain can be hard to diagnose, which is far from the case.

While heel pain can be different for everyone, Health Direct suggests that there are a number of common reasons why older people could be feeling the main.

One of the biggest conditions is plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes your plantar fascia to become painfully tight. When this happens, it pulls on the part that attaches to the heel bone, often causing it to become irritated and painful.

Another leading cause is Achilles tendinitis, a condition that triggers severe pain behind the heel. The condition causes inflammation of the tendon that connects the heel to the calf, often as a result of overusing your leg muscles.

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Others suffer from heel bursitis, a painful condition that is usually the result of an underlying health condition of foot abnormality.

People who have worked particularly strenuous jobs throughout their lives can suffer from a stress factor, while gout, osteomyelitis and fibromyalgia are other causes.

The best way to get a proper diagnosis is always to seek professional advice from a doctor or physiotherapist. Because the pain is often isolated to the heel area, it can be easy for people to misdiagnose themselves.

If you have been diagnosed, a doctor will likely offer some specific treatment for your condition.

However, there are other things you can do, regardless of the condition to help if you are suffering from pain.

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Limit the time you spend on your feet

While it’s a good idea to be active and get exercise, running for long periods of time or putting a lot of pressure on your feet is going to make the condition more painful.

Instead, opt for exercises that aren’t as hard on your feet such as yoga, swimming, or even cycling.

Daily stretching

It can sometimes be a chore to get out of bed every morning, but it’s a good idea to get into a habit of stretching your feet. Simply sit in a seat, cross your leg over your knee and pull for a few seconds. You never want to overstretch so just pull until you feel resistance. Eventually your feet will become more flexible and will hopefully stop the tightening that causes the pain in the first place.

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Move your toes

While it sounds silly, it’s always a good idea to move your toes, even if you aren’t being active. When you do this, you’re stimulating your plantar fascia.

To reduce impact, avoid activities that require you to stand or use your feet for long periods of time. Losing weight can also help, as can wearing insoles in your shoes. In some cases, taping your feet will also help.

Give yourself a massage

If you’re the kind of person who loves foot rubs, this will be music to your ears. Kneading your feet feels great and is a great way of rubbing the tension out of your feet. Another fun tip is to roll a ball on the ball of your feet.

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Change your footwear

Sometimes your choice of shoes can cause tension and lead to heel problems. Making the switch to a comfier, or orthopaedic, pair of shoes could do the trick, or sometimes you’ll need a padded shoe insert to give you extra protection.

Are you living with heel pain? How do you treat the painful condition?