Why Does My Heel Hurt When I Walk?
Every mile you walk puts 60 tons of strain on each foot. Although, this value seems to appear like a lot your feet are built to manage this. The most frequent problem affecting the foot and ankle is a painful heel, but your lifestyle can result in pain and inflammation of the tissues in your heel. This can be minor or severe. Contact an orthopedic doctor near you and get yourself diagnosed & treated soon.
There can be various reasons for pain in your heels. Some of them are listed here, in brief, to let you know about different causes of your heel pain which hurts you while walking. In this blog, we will discuss the causes and exercises of the various reason that causes heel pain.
Causes of Heel pain while walking
There are 26 bones, 33 joints, and approximately 100 or more tendons in your foot & ankle. Any injury in one of these bones, joints, or tendons can result in pain and discomfort in your heel. Some of the major causes of heel pain.
Meaning: This is the most common cause of heel pain. There is a strong band of tissue that starts from the heel bone to the tip of the foot known as Plantar Fascia. When you apply a lot of pressure on your foot & your fascia stretched beyond its normal length, there are some chances that your plantar fascia may get damaged.
Risk Factor: Active adults between the age of 40 to 70 are more susceptible to getting Plantar fasciitis. Obese people and pregnant women are at a higher risk because of the extra weight they carry.
Treatment: Physiotherapy, applying ice, braces, proper resting, orthopedic shoes, heel cushions, & medication can help you reduce your heel pain.
Meaning: Your calf muscles are joined to your heel bone with the help of the Achilles tendon. When you run, jump, walk, or stand on your toes for a longer time, there are chances for you to get Achilles Tendinitis. This overuse injury causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the back of your heel.
Risk Factor: Runners, basketball players, soccer players, and belly dancers have a higher risk of getting Achilles Tendinitis.
Treatment: Rest along with icing on the swelling, medicines, orthopedic heel cushions, injections, and medicines are the methods of treatment of pain caused by the Tendon Achilles. Surgery is also an option but only in extremely severe conditions.
Meaning: The bursa is a fibrous sac at the back of the heel that is filled with fluid and acts as a cushion for the bone, muscles, ligaments, and joints. When the bursa is affected by overuse, repetitive motion, and extra pressure on the heels, it causes Heel Bursitis.
Treatment: The treatment is the same as Plantar fasciitis, but some other treatment methods include braces, crutches, bands, or splints that support your heel in movement.
Meaning: On the bottom of the heel bone, spurs are bony protrusions created by calcium deposits that are located at the bottom of the heel bone. Due to repetitive tears of the membrane covering the heel bone, strains on muscles or ligaments heel spurs are formed.
Risk Factor: Athletes who frequently run and jump tend to develop these growths.
Treatment: Treatments are similar to other diseases such as Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Bursitis.
Meaning: A bony soft tissue growth on the back of a person's heels is mainly due to Haglund's deformity. This mainly occurs due to wearing rigid and hard shoes. The soft tissues near the back of the heel can become irritated with the rigid shoes and form large bony lumps on your heels.
Treatment: Wearing supportive shoes with soft backs is one of the best things you can do to ease the pain.
When Should You Visit A Doctor?
If you experience heel pain and have tried resting, ice packs, and massaging, and still your heel pain doesn't go away even after 2 to 3 weeks, immediately make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.
You should consider contacting an orthopedic doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Your pain doesn't go away after 2-3 weeks
- There is redness in your heel
- Swelling along with pain starts suddenly
- You are not able to walk properly because of your heel pain
- You got an injury near your heel
Dr. D.K Das is a senior orthopedic surgeon in Delhi, India who can diagnose, treat and manage issues related to bones & joints. He can treat different conditions related to orthopedics.
If you are suffering from heel pain or any bone & joint-related problem, contact Cure My Knee, and get consulted with Dr. D.K Das to know about the reason behind your heel pain or any other problem.
What Exercises Are Good For Heel Pain?
Simple exercise routines can help the bones, joints, & ligaments become stronger and more flexible. The workouts & exercises that are listed here can be done at home in the morning which will help you ease your heel pain. These heel pain exercises can significantly lessen Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinitis, Heel bursitis, and other problems causing pain in your heel.
Note: Consult your nearest Orthopedic Doctor before performing any exercise or if you feel pain while performing any exercise.
The Foot Roll Exercise
- Step 1: Sit down comfortably on a chair.
- Step 2: Take chilled ice water in a bottle, a tennis ball, or a rolling box whichsoever is available at your home and keep it on the floor below your foot.
- Step 3: Slowly start rolling your foot from the toe to the heel side for about 1 min slowly.
- Step 4: Repeat the same exercise for 5 mins daily until your heel pain goes away.
- Step 5: If you feel pain in both of your heels, stretch both of your feet to get away with the heel pain.
⇒ This exercise will help you in stretching your plantar fascia ligament. The cold icy water will help you in relieving the pain or inflammation caused in your heels.
The Heel Raise Exercise
- Step 1: Stand on a staircase and hold the side walls or rails beside the stair before starting the exercise.
- Step 2: Stand on the edge of the stairs in such a manner that your toe and ball are on the stairs whereas the heels remain hanging in the air.
- Step 3: Slowly lower your heels below the edge of the stair, wait for 5 secs and apply pressure onto the balls and toe of your feet.
- Step 4: Hold the handrail and raise your heel high in the air. Again, pause for 5 secs and repeat the same process.
- Step 5: Perform this exercise once daily for 5 mins to stretch your calf and heel bone.
⇒ This exercise helps you to release tension in the muscles in your calf and reduce your heel pain.
The Pebble Exercise
- Step 1: Sit down comfortably on a chair.
- Step 2: Scatter some 15-20 pebbles within the reach of your feet on the ground along with a mug.
- Step 3: Grab each pebble one by one with the help of your toe & deposit it in the mug.
- Step 4: Grab all the pebbles slowly and put them in the mug. Use both of your toes for this exercise even if you have pain only in one of your feet.
- Step 5: Perform this exercise 2 to 3 times every week.
⇒ This exercise helps your muscles and ligaments in your feet, strengthening them over time and reducing your heel pain caused due to plantar fasciitis.
The Wall Stretch
- Step 1: Stand against a wall and join your both feet together.
- Step 2: Place both of your hands on the wall, somewhat at your shoulder height.
- Step 3: Take a step forward with your right leg and shift your body weight on the right leg and bent your knee slowly.
- Step 4: Keeping both heels on the ground, slightly lean your upper body towards the wall such that you experience full stretch along the calf muscles of the other leg.
- Step 5: After 2 mins, return to your original position and repeat this exercise with your left leg. Perform this exercise three times a week for 7- 10 mins.
⇒ This exercise will help you improve heel pain symptoms and also helps in relaxing your calf muscles.
- Step 1: This exercise is similar to calf stretch, but this exercise is done while sitting on a chair and with a towel.
- Step 2: Fold a towel horizontally just like a strap. Sit on a chair comfortably and place the towel under your feet.
- Step 3: Grab both ends of the towel with the help of your hands. Gently pulls the towels towards you.
- Step 4: Perform this exercise for 30 secs and then switch the towel stretching to the other feet.
⇒ This exercise can help effectively and conservatively to ease heel pain and tension in the muscles.
Medication, physiotherapy, braces or splints, and shoe cushion also helps in relieving pain in the heels. In some cases, you might need to undergo surgery too. But, depending upon the severity and cause of heel pain, your doctor may advise you on the best exercises which can ease your heel pain. Consult an orthopedic doctor and get yourself treated as soon as possible.
Why do my feet hurt when I walk barefoot?▽
There is nothing to support your arch when you are barefoot. Walking or standing barefoot applies stress on the ligaments and bones present at the bottom of the foot. This leads to pain and discomfort in the heel, arch, or both.
How can I get rid of pain in my heel while I walk?▽
Consulting an orthopedic doctor is the first step you need to consider if you experience pain in your heel. Apart from this some medicines, physiotherapy, ice pack, exercises, braces & splints are helpful to get rid of heel pain.
Why exactly do my feet hurt after a long day at work?▽
Standing on your feet for a long period can cause pain in your feet. When you stand for a longer period of time at work your body constantly applies pressure on your feet. This results in swelling and pain in the ligaments and bones of the feet.
Is there a way to make walking in high heels hurt less?▽
Yes, you can wear heels easily without even hurting your feet. Just keep some important factors in mind before buying the heel:
- Get the right size of heels
- Choose leather heels
- Use an in-sole cushion for feet
- Walk with full concentration so that you do not fall or slip
What happens if you're barefoot all the time?▽
If you are barefoot most of the time, your will experience increased pressure and stress on your feet, due to which there are some chances that your ligaments or bones get affected and you may experience pain in your feet.