We rely on our feet every day to help us get from place to place. When our feet hurt, we tend to have a difficult time completing daily tasks such as work, errands, and recreation activities like exercise. If you are experiencing heel pain when walking, then it may be time to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist at Island Foot Clinics. A podiatrist can examine your foot and diagnose the cause of your heel pain so you can get back on your feet.
Heel Pain When Walking? Find Treatment in Kelowna, BC Today
Heel pain when walking is more common than you think. Some heel pain is temporary and may go away on its own, such as heel pain associated with wearing new shoes or performing a new form of exercise. But other types of heel pain can last longer and even be severe enough to interfere with your daily life, including your ability to work or exercise.
It’s important that your feet are comfortable when you are walking or engaging in other activities. Your feet are the focal point of your balance and your heels in particular bear a great portion of your body weight. When you experience pain in your heels, this may prompt you to place pressure on other parts of your feet to alleviate pain, but doing this in the long term can create other painful feet conditions.
What Conditions Are Related to Heel Pain When Walking?
Several conditions are related to pain in the heel. The heel, or the calcaneus bone, is the largest tarsal bone in the foot. When there is damage to this bone, it may be difficult to walk, wear shoes, or even place weight on your foot.
Heel spurs are one of the most common conditions related to heel pain and are related to the biomechanics of the bones in your feet. This condition occurs when growths form on the calcaneus bone. During the early stages of heel spurs, patients may not feel any pain at all, but as spurs become bigger, pain and inflammation will develop over time.
Plantar fasciitis is another common cause of pain in the heel. This condition is related to injury and inflammation of the connective tissues between the heel and the ball of the foot. Many patients will experience pain in the heel or just under the arch of the foot, typically at the start of the day. For many patients, this condition is “on and off”, but it is unlikely that this condition will resolve itself without proper treatment.
Pump Bump is another name for Haglund’s deformity, which is a bone enlargement on the heel in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the calcaneus bone. This deformity occurs as a benign growth that may occur as a result of wearing shoes that are too tight or that have too much stiffness in the heel. Women who wear high-heeled shoes may develop this condition over time.
Achilles tendinitis is another inflammatory foot condition that affects the tendon attached to the heel bone. This type of inflammation is very common and has the best means of treatment among other foot conditions, as adequate rest and elevation may be enough to calm the temporary pain of the condition. Repeated stress on the Achilles tendon will cause pain. Untreated, repeated stress on this tendon or sudden movements that stretch the tendon beyond capacity may cause this tendon to rupture.
When Should You Be Concerned About Heel Pain?
Heel pain when walking is fairly common, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If you are experiencing mild heel pain, then you should try to rest and elevate your foot for a few days and switch to looser, flat shoes until the pain resolves itself. If the pain continues or becomes worse, then you will need the attention of a podiatrist to diagnose and treat your heel pain.
There are also certain circumstances where you should immediately seek medical attention for heel pain in the interest of preserving your ability to walk or perform recreational activities. For example, if there is severe pain and swelling in the heel, you cannot bend your foot downward, you cannot rise on your toes, or you have numbness or tingling in the heel, then you should see a physician as soon as possible, particularly if these symptoms are sudden.
Why Does Heel Pain Happen?
Pain in the heel is common enough that physicians have been able to deduce several causes for this type of pain. In general, the cause for pain in the heel or other areas of the foot will fall into three categories: injuries, biomechanics, and medical conditions like obesity. Understanding the cause of your heel pain may help you make lifestyle changes that will improve your pain or prevent pain in the future.
Injuries can be related to sudden falls, tripping, sports injuries, or injuries sustained by over-stretching the foot, over-training with sports, or improperly warming up before intense exercise. Injuries of the heel can also occur as a result of shoes that harm the foot, particularly the arch, heel, or Achilles tendon. Many of these injuries can be avoided by being mindful about shoe gear or correctly stretching the feet before exercise.
Biomechanics refers to the actual construction of your body, such as how your bones are formed and how well tendons and ligaments are connected to your bones. Your biomechanics are often inherited, which is why conditions such as heel spurs may run in families. With biomechanics, there isn’t much you can do to prevent heel conditions other than taking mindful steps about your foot care and activities.
Obesity and Other Conditions
Obesity is a leading common cause of heel pain. Because your body withstands the entirety of your body weight, people who are above average body weight may experience pain in the feet from the added pressure and the inability of bones and tendons in the feet unable to cope with additional weight. Some people find that losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight goes a long way to reducing pain in the heels. Other health conditions may also be associated with pain in the heels.
How Can You Deal With Heal Pain?
The best way to deal with heel pain is by visiting a podiatrist for a physical examination and undergoing diagnostic x-rays, bone scans, and other imaging studies so your heel pain can be diagnosed and you can receive professional treatment or medications. But aside from that, there may be at-home techniques that can help alleviate pain for certain conditions. The RICE method of rest, ice, compression, and elevation can be immensely helpful for people who have injuries to the heel or conditions caused by inflammation.
Many people seek treatment from a podiatrist when they experience foot pain, particularly ongoing discomfort in the heel that is interfering with daily functioning. If you are experiencing pain in the heel when walking, then you may have a foot condition that needs professional attention. Contact Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC, Nanaimo, BC, Victoria, BC, Campbell River, BC, Prince George, PC, Terrace, BC, and Williams Lake, PC to schedule an appointment today.