3 Causes of Foot Heel Pain and How to Treat Them
January 13, 2014
Foot heel pain can become so intense that it's hard to stand on your own two feet. Foot heel pain, both front heel pain and back heel pain, can be debilitating. As you age, foot heel pain can come in a number of different forms including plantar fasciitis, heel bursitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and many more. If foot heel pain is slowing you down, take a closer look at what’s causing it and work to treat it.
1. Plantar Fasciitis Plantar fasciitis is a common and often persistent injury impacting runners, walkers, hikers, and anyone that has to be on their feet all day for work. It causes mainly foot arch pain and back heel pain. It’s an inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous tissue that extends from the heel to the toes and supports the arch. Morning foot pain is a signature symptom, before the plantar fascia has been stretched out. Symptoms include pain and swelling at the beginning of the arch and back heel, including both front heel pain and back heel pain. Planter Fasciitis Treatment Plantar fasciitis treatment includes a range of stretches such as calf muscle stretches against a wall and warming up the ankles with ankle circles. Pulling the toes back toward the shin also opens up the plantar fascia. Proper foot wear and orthotics are also important to protecting your arch. Topical products made with menthol and ginger are also effective. Menthol soothes and dulls the pain while ginger reduces inflammation of swollen tissue. This is not the same as heel spurs, though the injuries are often confused.
2. Heel Bursitis Heel bursitis is inflammation and back heel pain caused by the bursa (a fibrous sac full of fluid). The foot heel pain is usually felt deep in the heel. The pain usually gets worse as the day progresses. Heel Bursitis Treatment Staying off the heel when there’s pain is important as is icing your heel daily. You can also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (for example, ibuprofen). Improving flexibility and movement in the ankle is also important for reducing foot heel pain caused by bursitis. Topical products that contain devil’s claw, a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, can also be helpful for treatment of the pain.
3. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused when the long nerve in the back of the foot becomes pinched. This compression neuropathy can occur in both the ankle and the foot. It causes chronic back heel pain. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be treated with magnetic therapy, which is used to help regenerate the nerve fibers that show signs of inflammation. Deep tissue massage can also be used to resolve muscular and connective tissue problems particularly in the tendons of the foot.
Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.