Heel pain can often be felt just under or behind the heel, and comes on gradually without showing signs of injury. Although there are many different factors that can contribute to heel pain, the foot condition occurs most frequently in those who wear flat shoes such as flip-flops. Wearing flat shoes can eventually result in the stretching of the plantar fascia — leading to swelling and discomfort. Over time, heel pain can worsen and become chronic due to repetitive stress and pounding of the heels as a result of wearing such footwear.
If you suffer from chronic heel pain, it’s important to learn more about the causes of this unwanted foot condition so you can take steps to treat your ailment and prevent reoccurrences of heel pain in the future.
The plantar fascia is the thick ligament that runs from your heel bone to the tip of your foot. When the ligament becomes stretched out, the soft tissue fibers in the ligament can become inflamed and result in pain even when the affected individual is resting. This condition is known as plantar fasciitis, which is one of the most common causes of chronic heel pain.
Heel bursitis is inflammation on the back of the heel caused by landing hard or awkwardly on your heels. Certain types of footwear can result in heel bursitis, which generates pain at the back of the heel or deep inside the heel.
Chronic inflammation of the heel pad
If you tread heavily when walking, your heel pad can become thinned out and result in chronic inflammation of your heel pad — which eventually leads to chronic heel pain.
Chronic heel pain can be caused by a stress fracture in the foot, which can occur due to overuse. Runners frequently suffer from stress fractures in the metatarsal bones of the foot, however, stress fractures are also common in those who engage in heavy manual labor, sports, and other forms of intense, strenuous exercise.
Also frequently referred to as tendonitis, this condition occurs when the Achilles tendon fails to function properly due to a series of minor microscopic tears of the tendon. Over time, the Achilles tendon can degenerate when it fails to heal and repair itself in a healthy manner — leading to the thickening and weakening of the tendon. Those who suffer from Achilles tendonosis will often experience severe heel pain.
Sever’s disease commonly affects children between the ages of seven and 15, and occurs due to overuse of the heel bones’ growth plates. Sever’s disease is the most common cause of heel pain in children and teenage athletes.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that causes pain and numbness in the hands and feet as a result of damage to certain nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral neuropathy is most commonly caused by diabetes, but can also occur due to traumatic injuries, metabolic disorders, and infections.
Are you suffering from chronic heel pain? Call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440. We look forward to providing you with the proper diagnosis so you can get back on your feet.