Heel pain has many causes. Heel pain is generally the result of faulty biomechanics (walking abnormalities) that place too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. The stress may also result from injury, or a bruise incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear (such as flimsy flip-flops); or being overweight.
Both heel pain and heel spurs are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. It is common among athletes who run and jump a lot, and it can be quite painful.
The condition occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time causing the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length; this leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly the growth of a bone spur where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone. The inflammation may be aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support, especially in the arch and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle.
Resting provides only temporary relief. When you resume walking, particularly after a night's sleep, you may experience pain as result of the sudden pull on the fascia. As you walk, the heel pain may lessen or even disappear, but that may be just a false sense of relief. The pain often returns after prolonged rest or extensive walking.
Early treatment might involve oral or injectable anti-inflammatory medication, exercise and shoe recommendations, taping or strapping, or use of shoe inserts or orthotic devices.
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