Why Do I Have Heel Pain When Walking?
Discomfort and heel pain when walking, although a relatively common condition, can often be an indicator that something is wrong. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis and bone spurs can be the cause of heel pain when walking; in some cases they can also require medical attention.
As you walk, your heel has to absorb the impact of your body weight with each step. Therefore, if any pain develops, it can feel very disabling by causing difficulty in how you walk and can even affect your overall posture.
Read on to find out what it could potentially mean if you have heel pain when walking, and what types of treatments you can undergo to relieve the pain.
If you are suffering from chronic heel pain, you should seek specialist advice from a podiatrist.
Heel Pain When Walking and What it Means
There is an exhaustive list of conditions which can cause heel pain, however the three most common medical conditions which can lead to heel and foot pain when walking are as detailed below.
- Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition in which the plantar fascia ligament (covering the metatarsal region to the arch to the heel) becomes inflamed. Although the condition often causes severe heel pain when you stand and take the first few steps in the morning, pain can persist when walking throughout any time of the day.
- Heel spurs are abnormal bone growths which can be caused by external factors such as excessive running and ill-fitting shoes. Pain due to this condition can present itself not just when walking, but even when standing still as the bone growth can stab into tendons and ligaments in the heel.
- Impact injuries where the heel is fractured or there is a deep bruise can also cause serious pain, pain from bruises will be temporary but a heel fracture can cause more serious, long-term pain.
How to Relieve Heel Pain When Walking
Although heel pain can be due to a variety of factors, and can range from mild to severe, there are still general ways in which you can treat it. To minimise and relieve your heel pain when walking, you can try the following methods;
- Change your shoes to ones which offer a better fit and support for your feet
- Wear Orthotic Insoles – These can offer your feet extra support and stability around the arch and the heel of the foot. Many people find that walking, standing and running become much more comfortable and efficient when they use orthotics to slightly alter the angles their foot moves at. Check out our range of arch and heel support insoles.
- Muscle Stretches and Strengthening Exercises – By improving the muscle strength and flexibility, you’ll see an improvement in the ability of the foot to support the body weight as you walk and balance.
- Rest Your Feet – This is highly recommended if the condition is caused by an injury. Rest will ease the pain as the foot heals from inflammation and soreness.
- Over the Counter Pain Medicine – Although medication is a last resort from some, it can be the quickest and most effective way to relieve heel pain. However, it will just mask the symptoms and will not help in the recovery process.
If you see little to no improvement and you’re still experiencing heel pain when, or the pain appears to get worse and walking becomes more difficult, see a podiatrist for a professional diagnosis and other treatment options.