Why Does My Heel or Arch Hurt?
Unfortunately, there is no quick answer to this question. Heel discomfort is a common complaint with a number of potential causes. The pain you feel could vary from throbbing to debilitating depending on the root cause of your heel and arch pain.
The two most common problems are:
- Plantar Fasciitis - This is when the thick band of tissue (the plantar fascia) connecting the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed
- Typically, this pain is worse in the morning and will decrease as you use your foot throughout the day. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is usually a sharp or stabbing pain located near the bottom of your foot around your heel.
- Achilles Tendonitis - Occurs when the tendon that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone (Achilles tendon) gets injured.
- This pain is common in runners who suddenly increase the intensity or duration of their workouts. The sudden increase can cause the tendon to become injured or swollen. This swelling of the tendon often causes pain in the back of your leg or around your heel.
Other, less common, issues include:
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - This occurs when the posterior tibial nerve (located near your ankle) gets damaged due to consistent pressure.
- Stress Fracture - This injury occurs when the bone is weakened over time and causes tiny cracks. Often happens when someone also has osteoporosis.
- Heel Pad Bruise - A bruise on your heel pad is usually caused by consistent, excessive force to the heel—typically from your heel hitting the ground over and over through running or jumping.
- Fat Pad Atrophy - This injury occurs when the fat pads in your heel or the balls of your feet slowly thin over time. Losing the support of the pads in your feet can cause pain.
- Heel Pad Syndrome - This syndrome occurs when the fat pad cushioning your heel begins to thin, diminishing the padding. This lack of cushioning in the heel can cause severe heel pain.
- Haglund’s Syndrome - This syndrome occurs when the bony section of the heel becomes enlarged and begins to rub against shoes and irritate the tissue in the foot, causing pain.
- Sinus Tarsi Syndrome - This occurs when the subtalar joint becomes unstable and painful. Unfortunately, this instability can cause difficulty in performing daily activities as well as become painful.
If you are experiencing pain in your heel, arch, or your foot, contact us to book a consultation today.
Many daily options can help prevent experiencing foot, arch, and heel pain, including some of the following.
One of the main things you can do to prevent these conditions is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Living healthy includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising often, and getting enough sleep. All of these things together can help prevent foot injuries.
Stretching helps loosen your muscles and warm up your body in preparation for your workout, which is why it is recommended to always stretch before doing physical activities. Stretching before exercise allows your muscles to loosen and relax, decreasing your chances of injury.
Additionally, excessive heel and foot pain is caused by overuse during high-intensity workouts for prolonged durations (like running, jumping, and other physical activities). Beginning your workouts by warming up and stretching your body can help prevent future injuries.
Listen to Your Body
While exercising and going about your day-to-day life, it is important to listen to your body. Your body will let you know if you are reaching a breaking point and if you need to slow down or stop. If you feel like you are going a little too hard and pushing your body too much, you should slow down. Doing something simple like taking a rest day when your body needs it can help prevent injury.
Choose Good Shoes
Another helpful way to prevent injuries to your feet, heels, or arch is to wear high-quality shoes with comfortable arch support—even if they’re not as fashionable. Shoes that don’t fit can result in injuries to your feet, legs, and knees. Wearing shoes that fit can help prevent lasting foot pain and damage to your arch due to poor support. It is always better to choose shoes that provide proper support rather than flashy style.
Many treatment methods can help with heel or arch pain. It is important to note that some may be more effective than others for your specific injury. If you are experiencing pain in your heel or arch of your foot, you may be able to decrease the pain and treat your injury by trying a couple of options.
One of the best ways to treat your foot, arch, or heel pain is to simply take a break. Take a break from your crazy life and let your body have a chance to mend. Sometimes a much-needed break is enough to allow your foot to heal and your pain go away.
While you rest, getting ice on an injury can help reduce swelling. Ice can help manage your pain, minimize swelling, and allow your foot to heal. While you ice, you can also take over-the-counter pain relievers to get rid of any swelling and manage your pain.
Compression can help prevent your foot from swelling even more while also offering the extra support your foot needs while it heals. When your foot is swollen, it makes it hard for the root issue of your pain to heal. Compression helps reduce the swelling and allows your injury to heal.
Elevating your foot helps decrease the blood pressure in the blood vessels around the injury which helps to decrease the bleeding in that area. This can help minimize swelling and bruising which allows the injury to heal faster.
Improve Arch Support
When faced with a foot injury, one of the best treatment options is to wear shoes or inserts that provide better support for your feet. Standing with good posture, wearing good shoes, and utilizing custom-made inserts can help absorb shock when walking/exercising while allowing your injury to heal.
Ask Your Doctor
If some or all of these treatment options still don’t provide any noticeable pain relief or the pain is getting worse, it may be time to consult a doctor. Here at Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic, we have specialists who can help you figure out the root cause of your pain and help you treat the problem.
If you are experiencing consistent heel or arch pain, please visit with one of our specialists. Our doctors can help determine the root cause of your pain and help you treat the problem.
If you have any questions about heel, arch, or foot pain, don’t go another day without a professional consultation.