Your feet can handle quite a bit of stress, but going over the limit can cause extreme discomfort. Heel pain generally falls into two categories: pain behind the heel and pain beneath the heel.
If your pain is behind the heel, you may be running too much or have shoes that rub or cut into the back of your heel. Pain behind the heel is most often caused by the Achilles tendon being inflamed where it connects with your heel bone. This pain can build slowly over time, and you may notice swelling and redness.
If you are experiencing pain beneath the heel, the tissues on the bottom of your foot may be inflamed. There are a number of causes for this type of pain, such as stone bruises, plantar fasciitis, and calcium deposits.
Stone bruises can occur when you step on a hard surface, such as a rock or stone. You may or may not be able to see a bruise.
Plantar fasciitis is a problem that can arise after too much running or jumping. After such activities, the band that connects the heel bone to the base of your toes becomes inflamed, which causes pain.
A calcium deposit, known as a heel spur, could form if plantar fasciitis continues for a long period of time. The heel spur itself is not the problem; it is the injury to the soft tissue and inflammation that causes the pain.
Other less common causes of heel pain include pinched nerves, fractures, or being overweight.
Common treatments for heel pain include:
- Resting from activities that caused the pain
- Implementing proper stretching techniques
- Using anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Wearing proper footwear
- Surgery is typically a last resort, but is not uncommon