Different Types of Heel Pain
Most people have heard of heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis, but few people realize there are other conditions of the heel that cause pain. For example: bursitis, Haglund’s deformity, osteochondritis, osteomyelitis, and stress fractures can affect heels and cause pain.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacks that act as cushions where tendons and muscles slide over bones. They frequently occur at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. Sudden, intense activity can inflame the bursae on the heels causing pain. Treatment includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. If the pain persists, a podiatrist like Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M., may recommend ultrasound treatment or low-level laser pain treatment.
Commonly found on the heels of people who have worn slip-on shoes or footwear with a rigid back for many years, Haglund’s deformity presents as a bony lump on the back of the heel which is rubbed by shoes and is prone to blisters. People with high arches or tight Achilles tendons are susceptible to this condition. Initially, your podiatrist may make shoe modifications. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
During growth spurts, osteochondritis can affect the heels of boys between the ages of 10 and 15 and girls between the ages of 8 and 13. Activities that involve excessive running or jumping on hard surfaces tend to cause this condition. Treatment involves taking anti-inflammatory medication and applying ice to the heels. If the pain persists, your podiatrist may prescribe special shoe inserts (orthotics).
This condition can occur in any bone in the body; however, it usually only affects the feet of people with diabetes and foot ulcers. Treatment includes long-term antibiotics for the infection.
These overuse injuries can be difficult to detect. They may occur as a result of a sudden increase in activity and are common in women and people with osteoporosis. If left untreated, the problem will persist and the pain may become chronic.
Because there are so many causes of heel pain, it is essential that you get an accurate diagnosis from a podiatrist.