Heel pain is a common condition in which
weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort.
There are two different categories of heel
pain. The first is caused by over-use repetitive stress which refers to a
soreness resulting from too much impact on a specific area of the foot.
This condition, often referred to as "heel pain syndrome," can be caused
by shoes with heels that are too low, a thinned out fat pad in the heel
area, or from a sudden increase in activity.
Plantar fasciitis, a very common diagnosis
of heel pain, is usually caused from a biomechancial problem, such as
over-pronation (flat feet). The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous
tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel
through the midfoot and into the forefoot. Over-pronation can cause the
plantar fascia to be excessively stretched and inflamed, resulting in pain
in the heel and arch areas of the foot. Often the pain will be most
intense first thing in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest.
The pain will gradually subside as the day progresses.
Treatment and Prevention
To properly treat heel pain, you must
absorb shock, provide cushioning and elevate the heel to transfer
pressure. This can be accomplished with a heel cup, visco heel cradle, or
an orthotic designed with materials that will absorb shock and shear
When the condition is pronation related
(usually plantar fasciitis), an orthotic with medial posting and good arch
support will control the pronation and prevent the inflammation of the
Footwear selection is also an important
criteria when treating heel pain. Shoes with a firm heel counter, good
arch support, and appropriate heel height are the ideal choice.
If the problem persists, consult your