There are various activities that aging and younger people participate in that can cause heel pain. There are typically two main sources of heel pain either from Achilles tendinitis, or the underside of the heel (plantar fasciitis). It is more common than you would think! I will be going over what exactly Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis are, and what can cause it. Knowing the causes before the steps to heal is a great place to start.
What is Achilles tendinitis? A pain or swelling in the back of the Achilles tendon, which attaches your calf muscle to your heel bone. You use this tendon for most activities that require you to be on your feet.
What is plantar fasciitis? It is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is the inflammation of the band of tissue that starts on the far back side of your heel and connects your heel bone to your toes. Patients often describe their pain being the worst in the morning during their first few steps of the day. The pain decreases throughout the day but can return after sitting or standing for extended amounts of time.
Not getting a proper warm up can be a mistake! Especially when it comes to your heels. Make sure to stretch thoroughly before any exercise as it is often a huge cause of injuries including heel pain.
Sports that require you to move, stop, and change directions quickly are also more stressful on your feet. This also can contribute to your heel pain. Football, tennis, and soccer are all examples of sports that are more put you at a higher risk of Achilles tendinitis or Plantar fasciitis.
Wearing shoes that don’t fit or are very old is something you should also put on the list of things to avoid. footwear that doesn’t give you proper support will ultimately cause pain. Even simple running shoes have more support compared to an old and worn out brand named shoe. Comfort and support don’t always mean an expensive brand name.
If you increase your physical activity drastically without allowing your body to properly adjust to the increased physical training first, it also increases your risk of these injuries. You should allow yourself the time to improve and master whatever exercises or activity it is before you decide to make it more strenuous.
I’m sure you have already guessed and noticed that wearing heels for long periods of time can also cause all kinds of pain, especially heel pain. Be sure to give yourself breaks if you need to wear them a whole day, and try to avoid wearing them daily.
This one is quite unavoidable but still worthy of being mentioned. As we age our bodies take a lot of wear and tear. Our feet, ankles, and heels are no exception. Over time your tendons will weaken, but eating healthy and staying active can help slow this process down.
Running should be a part of everybody’s life, but running up steep hills may also contribute to your pain! If you don’t regularly run uphill you shouldn’t hit the very first big hill you see. Over excreting yourself on a hill you haven’t been training for has the potential to bring you unwanted heel pain.
In this article, we talked about some of the major causes of heel pain (Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis), and useful ways you can avoid these injuries. Always remember to properly warm up including foot and ankle stretches, take on only challenges you have trained your body for, and wear comfortable shoes with plenty of support.