What Are the Symptoms Associated with Heel Pain?
- Sharp or Stabbing Pain: Many individuals experience sharp or stabbing pain under the heel, especially when taking their first steps in the morning or after extended periods of rest.
- Tenderness: The heel area can become tender to the touch, making it uncomfortable to apply pressure to it.
- Swelling and Redness: Inflammation can lead to swelling and redness around the affected area, exacerbating the discomfort.
- Difficulty Walking: Heel pain may impede your ability to walk comfortably or engage in your regular activities.
The Common Causes of Heel Pain
Let’s explore some of the most prevalent causes of heel pain:
Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, affecting millions of individuals. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot, becomes inflamed or irritated. Prolonged standing, wearing unsupportive footwear, or abruptly increasing physical activity can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.
Achilles tendinitis is another common source of heel pain. It occurs when the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, becomes inflamed. Overuse or the sudden initiation of intense physical activity can strain the Achilles tendon, leading to pain and stiffness in the back of the heel.
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the heel bone (calcaneus) caused by repetitive strain and overuse. Athletes, particularly runners, and individuals who engage in high-impact activities are more susceptible to stress fractures.
Heel bursitis occurs when the bursa, a small sac of fluid located between the heel bone and the Achilles tendon, becomes inflamed. Repetitive pressure and friction on the bursa, often from wearing poorly fitting shoes, can lead to heel bursitis.
This condition is similar to heel bursitis but specifically affects the bursa located behind the Achilles tendon. Activities that put excess strain on this area can lead to inflammation and pain.