Do you know which bone in your foot is the largest? If you don’t know, the answer is this – your heel. The heel is also one of the most important, if not the most important bone, in your foot. By it’s design, it is made to withstand and support the weight of your body. When you walk, jog, run or jump, the heel absorbs impact and helps you move forward.
When you walk, your heel takes on nearly 1.25 the weight of your body. When you run, your heel takes on 2.75 times the weight of your body. When you consider this, it is easy to see how susceptible the heel is to injury. When you experience heel pain, your mobility is negatively affected. It hurts to stand let alone walk. Because heel pain can have such a dramatic impact on your life, it’s important to get it diagnosed properly. Here are just a few things that your heel pain may mean.
1. Plantar Fasciitis
If the pain you are experiencing is under the heel or just behind it, you could be suffering with plantar fasciitis. This occurs when the ligament that runs from the tip of the foot to the heel is stretched too far. The ligament becomes inflamed and causes pain.
2. Heel Bursitis
This injury is common among runners, but it can also be caused by shoes that do not fit properly. You may feel pain in and around your heel with heel bursitis. When you suffer with this condition, your pain typically worsens as the day goes on.
3. Heel Bumps
Many people have not heard of this condition before. A heel bump occurs when the bone itself has not matured and rubs so much that excess bone forms. This can be caused by having flat feet or by wearing high heels too early.
4. Stress Fracture
Any type of stress fracture, or fracture caused by overuse, in the foot can cause heel pain. Stress fractures are most commonly sustained by athletes and people who work on their feet for long periods of time.
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
This chronic disease is ultimately disabling. It causes inflammation and pain, typically in the hands and feet at its onset. If you have heel pain along with a general feeling of fatigue and stiffness, you may be suffering with rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Tarsal Tunnel
Many people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the wrist. Tarsal tunnel is a similar condition that affects the foot. When the posterior tibial nerve becomes trapped or compressed, the result is pain in the heel, arch or toes. People with overpronation are at the highest risk for tarsal tunnel.
The five conditions above are just some of what could be causing your heel pain. If you have discomfort that doesn’t seem to be going away, proper diagnosis is essential. When your condition is diagnosed, you can begin a course of treatment that will help to alleviate the pain you are feeling.
If you are experiencing pain in your heel or anywhere else in your foot, an experienced podiatrist can assist you. If you are looking for a podiatrist in Salt Lake City, Dr. Elizabeth Auger would be happy to see you. Call today to schedule an appointment and discover how much better life is with healthy feet.