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What is Heel Pain?

by MASS4D® Insoles

Heel pain is one of the most common types of foot pain experienced by people. While there are plenty of reasons for feeling pain in the heel region, it may help to learn about two of the most frequent causes – plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.

Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition that often causes pain at the heel bone. This pain worsens as you take the first few steps out of bed in the morning, or after resting for a long period of time. It is not unusual for the mid-curve or foot arch to be painful as well.

A heel spur refers to an abnormal bony growth, which causes pain and inflammation under the heel bone. You may feel this pain the most when you place your entire bodyweight on your feet, making it difficult for you to exercise or play any type of sports.

Heel Pain
Heel pain could be either due to plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.
Since both conditions cause heel pain, it may be confusing to determine whether you have a heel spur, plantar fasciitis, or both; this is why it is necessary to consult a qualified healthcare provider such as a podiatrist, who can examine your feet and identify the true cause of your heel pain

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What causes plantar fasciitis?

Before understanding the cause of plantar fasciitis, it is useful to learn about the plantar fascia ligament in the foot. This is a thick, elastic-like band found on the bottom side of the foot.

The main function of this ligament is to support the foot arch, so it can sufficiently absorb the upward pressure resulting from the foot hitting the ground. This is important to lessen impact on the foot and to protect it from injury.

The Windlass Mechanism helps to describe the reaction of the plantar fascia as the foot arch collapses.

When the arch collapses, the plantar fascia either attempts to prevent or correct it. This is known as the windlass which refers to tightening of a rope-like structure as the plantar fascia tightens and pulls from the origin and insertion point.

The arch collapses because the plantar fascia does not have the sufficient strength to balance both the upward ground section forces and the downward bodyweight force.

The plantar fascia, however, continues to contract, pulling on the origin and insertion points. Over time, chronic spasms, inflammation, and repetitive stress can damage the plantar fascia and also lead to the development of a heel spur.

As a result of repeated stress on the ligament over time, the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, causing heel pain. This stress could be increased by factors such as obesity, ageing, foot problems, standing long hours, etc.

Plantar Fasciitis

For instance, plantar fasciitis is common among those with professions that have them constantly on their feet. As is the case with waiters or sales professionals who are required to constantly walk or stand for long hours.

Hard flooring made out of tile, wood or concrete can take a toll on flat feet as it only raises the pressure placed on both feet. It is not uncommon for people with standing jobs to also complain of muscle fatigue, back pain, and leg swelling.

Plantar fasciitis is commonly linked to flat feet. When you have flat arches, the ligament is forced to stretch beyond its normal capacity each time you stand or walk. This over-stretching motion gradually damages the ligament, leading to the development of the condition.

Obese or overweight individuals tend to be at a higher risk of having foot pain because of excess weight on the feet. This leads to flattening of the foot arch over time which adds stress on the ligament in the foot, making it inflamed in the process.

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How does a heel spur develop? 

There are many common causes of heel spurs, with symptoms including inflammation and tenderness under the heel bone, especially during physical activities.

Pain can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, may cause difficulty during physical activities such as walking, running or playing sports.

Repeated strain on the heel resulting from walking, running or jumping, especially on hard surfaces, can slowly cause a bone-like growth or heel spur to form under the heel bone.

Heel Spurs

This strain is made worse by wearing shoes that are either too tight or narrow, placing excess stress on the heel bone.

An increased heel height can impact the mobility and function of the feet in multiple ways. The effect high-heeled shoes have on the body and the changes in the foot posture and function should not be ignored.

Calf pain is often reported by women who regularly wear high heel shoes. Because of the raised heel height, the calf muscles are in a shortened position for extended periods of time. This causes tightness and pain in the calf muscles which gradually lead to flat arches.

A flatfoot posture often triggers the formation of heel spurs because of excessive stretching of the plantar fascia ligament. This creates an inward pull at the heel bone, contributing to the development of an abnormal bony growth.

For proper diagnosis and to determine the risk factors, X-rays as well as examining the muscle strength, foot stability and foot posture may be required. Non-invasive treatment options are available for treating and/or managing heel spurs.

MASS4D® Insoles can help heel pain  

You can try different pain-relieving methods in order to get relief from your heel pain.

Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs are considered helpful because of their immediate effect in bringing down pain in the feet.

However, most medicines are capable of providing only temporary pain relief, making them ineffective as a long-term treatment option. So, it is best not to rely on them too much.

In extreme cases, it is possible that steroids may have to be injected into the painful heel. However, since these injections have many side effects, they should be used as sparingly as possible, and only if your heel pain has become unbearable.

Mild heel pain can also sometimes be treated with pain-relieving foot creams or lotions that are available in most pharmacies. These are a relatively inexpensive way of reducing heel pain and have minimum side effects.

Foot exercises such as the golf ball rolls can help in improving blood flow and reducing pain in the heel and arch regions.

It’s a simple exercise that doesn’t require much except for a golf ball. Once you’re comfortably seated, gently roll a golf ball under the foot for 2-5 minutes especially in the heel area.

As with any foot condition, it is important to treat the root cause of the problem; this helps in providing long-term protection from the condition.

Foot posture problems such as flat feet contribute to the development of both plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. It is, therefore, not enough to treat only the symptoms of these conditions while avoiding the real issue – flat arches.

Treatment plans often involve a combination of rest, ice therapy, foot massages and the use of pain medications. After sufficient healing has occurred, it would be a good idea to practice stretching and strengthening exercises for boosting the strength of flattened arches.

Additionally, wearing MASS4D® Insoles for heel pain can provide the type of support needed to regulate improper foot movement. These insoles also help prevent the weakened arch from collapsing further, which removes any excessive stress on the heel bone and promotes recovery.

Orthotic Foot Pain

Besides being easy to use, MASS4D® Insoles help in improving the shock absorption ability of the feet by enhancing the strength of fallen arches.

MASS4D® can also be used as a way to redistribute pressure in the feet which helps in reducing stress in painful regions.

The biggest advantage of wearing insoles is that you can continue walking and moving around as your feet are being treated for flat arches.

Moreover, MASS4D® Insoles also help in preventing foot conditions, caused as a result of foot posture problems such as flat arches, which lead to pain in the heels or arches.

Other sources 

You could also have pain at the back of your heel due to an inflamed Achilles tendon – this is the heel cord that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Since this tendon is used the most while walking, running and performing other physical activities, it is possible for damage to occur over time. In other cases, there may be tears in the tendon that eventually cause pain and swelling.

Achilles Tendonitis

It is worth mentioning that heel pain can also be the result of arthritis, which causes a gradual degeneration of joints; in these cases it is common to experience tenderness, swelling and stiffness in the joints of the foot including the heel.

Moreover, in some cases, this condition can lead to the development of a flatfoot posture, which only worsens heel pain and underlying issues.

So, if you’re still seeking ways to treat your heel pain, consider including MASS4D® Insoles in your treatment programme.

Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     buy now

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