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  • Writer's pictureDr. Monica Ngo

Are Your Shoes Causing Your Heel Pain?

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

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Causes of Heel Pain

A variety of factors can cause heel discomfort, but the most common causes are pressure on the heel plus wear and strain on the ligaments and tendons which support the heel and arch of your foot.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent cause of heel discomfort, particularly in older people and those who play sports. The plantar fascia is a strong band of connective tissue which runs the length of the sole of your foot, supporting your arch and midfoot. Plantar fasciitis develops when the fibrous band at the bottom of the foot becomes irritated and inflamed; microscopic tears form throughout the tissue, due to wear and strain. Plantar fasciitis is highly frequent in older men and women and athletes whose feet are subjected to a lot of impact (like runners). Plantar fasciitis pain can strike at any moment, although it's more prevalent in the morning and after a lengthy period of sitting. The plantar fascia “warms up” and becomes more flexible as you move about, lessening the amount of discomfort you experience.

Spurs on the heels

Heel spurs are tiny bony growths that arise around the border and underneath your heel bone; they are a common source of heel discomfort. Spurs arise when calcium accumulates in certain parts of the body, forming hard deposits which cause significant discomfort when weight or pressure is applied to them. Heel spurs can develop on their own, or in conjunction with plantar fasciitis, causing discomfort around the bottom of your foot. Heel spurs may occasionally be seen on an x-ray, but in some cases they're so large that by pressing on the region you might feel the spur.

Haglund’s Deformity

Haglund's Deformity is a hard lump or hump that occurs on your heel, specifically the rear portion of your heel (similar to heel spurs). The lump develops due to constant pressure on the region, which is commonly produced by shoes with extremely stiff backs which rub and irritate the tissue and bone. Heel bursitis, a painful inflammation of the bursa (small sacs of fluid which create a cushion between your bones and soft tissues), is sometimes associated with Haglund's Deformity.

Heel Pain and the Function of Footwear

Heel discomfort is more common in certain types of footwear than in others. Shoes that offer insufficient arch support (or place too much strain on your feet) should be avoided. These include:

  • Flip-flops

  • High-heeled shoes

  • Shoes that have become worn out

Furthermore, due to the absence of arch support, kicking off your shoes as soon as you get home will actually exacerbate your heel discomfort. Even at home, it may be tough to get used to wearing supportive shoes, but doing so may be enough to alleviate your heel discomfort.

How to Choose the Right Footwear

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for shoes:

  • Get your toes measured

If you're not sure where to start, go to a store that offers sports shoes and get your feet measured by a professional.

  • Get to know your arches

You must determine if you have high arches or flat arches in order to choose shoes that are particularly tailored to fit your needs.

  • Keep an eye on your weight

Many individuals are unaware that as they gain or lose weight, their shoe sizes can vary.

  • Examine the condition of your shoes

If worn often, most shoes will wear out in a few months to a year. If you set your shoes on a tabletop and look at the soles, you can determine if they are worn out. If they're bent to any extent, they might not be able to support your feet as effectively as they used to.

  • Pay attention to your feet

When you're wearing shoes, it's critical to pay attention to what your feet tell you. Even if the shoes are fully functional, wearing them on a regular basis will cause your feet to suffer.

Treating Heel Pain with Custom Orthotics

Custom orthotics effectively reduce heel pain and its associated symptoms such as inflammation and irritation. Because orthotics are custom-made for each person, they are designed to relieve pressure areas on and around your heel, while also providing adequate support for the rest of your foot.

Orthotics allow your foot and lower leg muscles to "retrain" themselves in order to offer support without producing unpleasant pressure points. The more you use your orthotics, the more successful they will be at alleviating your problems.

To find the right custom-made orthotics for you in the London, Ontario area, be sure to visit Unity Spine and Health online or call us at (226) 223-2437 today.

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