The function of the heel in walking is to absorb the shock of your foot striking the ground as it is put down and to start springing you forward on the next step. It contains a strong bone (the
calcaneum). Under the bone are a large number of small pockets of fat in strong elastic linings, which absorb much of the shock (fat pads). The heel is attached to the front of the foot by a number
of strong ligaments which run between the front part of the calcaneum and various other parts of the foot. The strongest ligament is the plantar fascia, which attaches the heel to the toes and helps
to balance the various parts of the foot as you walk. It therefore takes a lot of stress as you walk. In some people the plantar fascia becomes painful and inflamed. This usually happens where it is
attached to the heel bone, although sometimes it happens in the mid-part of the foot. This condition is called plantar fasciitis and causes Heel Pain
Age plays a large role in the development of heel pain, particularly among those over 40. Being active is also a common factor of heel pain. Over time, the elasticity of the tissue in our feet
decreases with age, causing us to become prone to damage and also slowing the body's ability to heal damage. Adolescents are also not immune to heel pain. Those who are active in sports are
particularly prone to excessively stretching or straining the plantar fascia or Achilles tendon, causing severe heel pain. In most cases, heel pain develops in only one heel. There are many risk
factors that lead to heel pain. Abnormal gait and excessive, repetitive stress are common factors in the development of pain and damage. Among the other risk factors involved with the development of
heel pain are repetitive exercise or activities, such as long distance running or jumping from activities such as basketball. Obesity. Walking barefoot on hard surfaces. Prolonged standing. Wearing
poor fitting shoes, or shoes that do not provide enough support or cushioning. Not stretching properly or at all before and after exercise. Those who are on their feet for long periods of time.
The primary symptom is pain in the heel area that varies in severity and location. The pain is commonly intense when getting out of bed or a chair. The pain often lessens when walking.
The diagnosis of heel pain and heel spurs is made by a through history of the course of the condition and by physical exam. Weight bearing x-rays are useful in determining if a heel spur is present
and to rule out rare causes of heel pain such as a stress fracture of the heel bone, the presence of bone tumors or evidence of soft tissue damage caused by certain connective tissue disorders.
Non Surgical Treatment
Once diagnosed, treatment for plantar fasciitis may include one or more of the following: advice on footwear, in particular use of arch-supportive footwear; avoid walking barefoot; stretching
exercises, shoe modifications such as heel pads, taping and strapping, anti-inflammatories and orthotic devices to correct abnormal foot mechanics. Injection therapy with corticosteroids is only
advisable if all the conservative treatment methods mentioned above have been exhausted due to undesired effects implicated with steroid infusion in the heels.
With the advancements in technology and treatments, if you do need to have surgery for the heel, it is very minimal incision that?s done. And the nice thing is your recovery period is short and you
should be able to bear weight right after the surgery. This means you can get back to your weekly routine in just a few weeks. Recovery is a lot different than it used to be and a lot of it is
because of doing a minimal incision and decreasing trauma to soft tissues, as well as even the bone. So if you need surgery, then your recovery period is pretty quick.
Heel pain is commonly caused from shoes that do not fit properly. In addition, shoes need to have ample cushioning and support, particularly through the heel, ball of the foot, and arch. Shoes should
also be replaced if they become too worn. One sure sign of wear and tear is overly worn areas of a shoe's insoles. If the heel or ball of the foot is particularly worn, damage could easily occur
since the bottom of the foot is not getting the cushioning it needs.