Under the term ” heel pain ” a very broad set of diseases is encompassed in medicine that are characterized by manifesting themselves through localized pain in the heel region. They are a relatively frequent reason for podiatric consultation, and it is estimated that around 15% of the adult and elderly population present chronic localized pain in the heel (evolution greater than 6 weeks).
The child population is also not exempt from suffering this type of problems, constituting about 10% of all pediatric consultations. Although heel pain can manifest itself at any age, the most common cause of it varies with age.
The presence of heel pain in children is usually associated with the ossification process of the posterior region of the heel bone (calcaneus), which begins between 4-8 years of age.
This aspect, together with sports practice and the presence of deformities in the foot, are the causes that most frequently cause painful symptoms in the heel at these ages (known under the term “Sever’s disease”). They affect males to a greater extent than females, and are characterized by the appearance of pain mainly after sports practice or when getting out of bed, which subsides with rest and during the course of the day. Sometimes the pain persists, then the child presents with a limp and slight inflammation of the heel.
Although it is true that heel pain in childhood ages usually disappears with growth, (in fact they are colloquially known under the term “growing pains”) should not be neglected, because sometimes it masks more serious processes. It is therefore necessary to go to the specialist (podiatrist or traumatologist) whenever the child complains of pain in his heel of more than a week of evolution, especially if it is accompanied by strong inflammation and / or fever , so that he is the one who determines the true cause of the pain and proceed to treat it in the most appropriate way.
Heel pain remedies and treatment
In general, to relieve this type of pain, it is usually enough to use a heel counter and shoes with a certain heel (avoid flat shoes). If these measures are not enough, it will be necessary to temporarily suspend sports activity (for about 6 months) and, sometimes, take anti-inflammatory drugs for a few days (only under the prescription of a doctor or podiatrist).
In adults, heel pain is usually associated with the presence of alterations in the structure of the foot, such as flat feet (“no bridge” feet), cavus feet (feet with too much “bridge”), varus heels ( turned outward) or valgus heels (turned inward). Their presence causes the foot to malfunction during walking and running, causing the tendons that originate in the calcaneus (especially the plantar fascia) to be under too much stress and become inflamed.
In these cases (known as ” plantar fasciitis ” or “calcaneal spur”) the pain usually appears very intense when starting to walk after prolonged periods of rest (for example, after eating or getting out of bed) and may force the person suffering from it to limp for a few minutes. In general, with activity it decreases, but it is maintained throughout the day. High-heeled shoes and sports shoes can relieve pain, which disappears when the person is at rest (sitting or in bed).
In these cases it is important to go to the specialist (podiatrist or traumatologist) when pain occurs and not let excessive time pass, since the prognosis may be worse the longer the visit is delayed. Its treatment is based on the use of insoles that compensate for the foot problem that causes the pain, together with moderate-heeled shoes (3-4 cm and wide base). Sometimes it must be complemented with the application of physiotherapy measures or the intake of anti-inflammatories (always by prescription of the specialist). The pain disappears within 2-4 weeks after starting treatment, and only in cases that respond poorly to conservative therapies should surgery be performed.
In older people, foot problems are also often the cause of heel pain. However, in this group of the population its appearance may also be related to the loss of heel fat that occurs with the aging process. In these cases, the placement of silicone heel pads, which replace the function of the lost plantar fat, is usually enough to eliminate the pain.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.