Is Heel Pain Bringing You to Your Knees?

The heel of the human body may not get a lot of attention, but its job is a very important one. Made up of one large bone called the calcaneus, it forms the foundation for the rear portion of the foot. Each step taken places pressure on this bone, as well as on the muscles, bones, and other tissues that connect it to the rest of the foot. If you are experiencing heel pain, the following information may be helpful in determining the cause and helping you find relief. 

Bruising, strains, and sprains

One of the most common causes of heel pain is bruising of the soft tissues that form the fleshy part of the heel, or some type of strain or sprain. In most cases, this type of injury will resolve quickly with just rest and some alternating heat and ice therapy. 

Fractured heels 

Injuries that cause serious heel pain that does not seem to improve with the combination of rest, heat, and ice therapy or injuries that impact your ability to walk without significant pain may be a sign that you have fractured the calcaneus bone or one of the smaller bones that connects the calcaneus bone to the rest of the foot. 

While the calcaneus bone is capable of supporting the weight of the body and the routine stress caused by walking, running, and moving, it is somewhat fragile. The bone has a tough outer layer with a softer, more delicate bone underneath. When a fracture occurs, the outer shell can collapse, causing severe pain and a healing process that can be both lengthy and difficult. 

Calcaneal fractures occur in many variations, including the following: 

  • stress fractures from overuse
  • avulsion fractures from an injury
  • crush fractures from serious trauma 

In instances where the calcaneal fracture results in a bone being broken off or when an injury causes the surface of the calcaneus bone to shatter and collapse, casting or surgical stabilization followed by extensive rehabilitation may be required. 

Calcaneal fractures or any type of severe or enduring heel pain should always be considered to be serious and treated accordingly. Heel fractures have the potential to impact your life and activity levels for years due to the potential for developing arthritis and lingering pain long after the injury. 

If you or someone you love is dealing with severe heel pain, it is important to make an appointment for an immediate examination by a trusted podiatrist for heel pain services. Taking the initiative to seek treatment quickly for heel pain is the most effective way of preventing later compilations.