Heel pain can be one of the most debilitating podiatric problems because the heel is constantly sustaining the shock and pressure of walking when our full weight gets distributed on contact with the ground.
Most heel pain happens due to excessive effort or wearing shoes that are not fit for your foot’s shape and size. People that are overweight also tend to suffer from heel pain due to the foot having to sustain more pressure then usual.
The human heel bone, or the calcaneus, is designed to absorb shock during the motion we know as pronation, when the foot naturally elongates and is fully flat against the ground. It works in tandem with the plantar fascia, which is the part of the foot supporting the arch. As such, heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis is usually worse than other conditions, and is especially acute after long periods of sitting, or right in the morning, before the foot starts to warm up.
Treating heel pain needs to follow a few guidelines. The first one should always be wearing comfortable shoes that are fit for your feet and don’t cause any friction or pressure at the heel or the toe box. As our feet are our main locomotion device, we need to be mindful of how we care for them and it’s worth looking into orthotics as a means to relieve pain.
Stretching and warm up exercises are also a great way to treat heel pain because tightness of the muscles and tendons contribute greatly to the overall pressure applied to the heel. It will help to maintain your overall health as well, so a bit of exercise is always a good idea.
Weight also has a significant impact and, if possible, losing a few pound can give your feet some much needed relief. However, pain in the feet can limit activities that help with weight loss, and as such, can hinder your progress by their very nature.
One important thing to keep in mind as well is that, while the advice above will benefit you, it is never a substitute for good medical advice given by a professional, and you should always consult a podiatrist for the best course of action, especially if the pain is severe.