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As the largest of the foot’s 26 bones, the heel is often susceptible to pain and injury due to its position and vital functions. Common heel pain itself is rarely a severe medical condition, but it can be a sign of something a little more serious. For example, discomfort on the underside usually stems from plantar fasciitis, while pain on the back of the heel is frequently associated with Achilles tendinitis.
Most Common Causes
As mentioned above, the following two conditions are the most common causes of intense heel pain:
Plantar Fasciitis – An inflammation of the plantar fascia connective tissue, which runs from the heel to the front of the foot. Specifically, plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia tendon becomes strained over time. This can be due to a number of different reasons, but the most common is athletic activity. On the other hand, improperly fitting shoes with insufficient arch support will also aggravate the plantar fasciitis and cause increased heel pain.
Achilles Tendinitis – An inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs down the backside of the ankle and into the heel. Achilles tendinitis occurs near the heel bone when this sensitive tendon is strained, usually over a long period of time. This condition is most frequently seen in older individuals who still walk and run for exercise.
Heel Spurs – A hard, unnatural growth on the bottom of the heel bone that is often associated with plantar fasciitis.
Heel Bursitis – This is an inflammation or swelling of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac at the back of the heel – under the Achilles tendon. It is most often caused by wearing shoes that put too much pressure on this part of the foot or wearing heels that do not properly fit.
Arthritis – More specifically, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Stress Fracture – A fracture, or break in the heel bone, caused by repetitive stress. This particular cause is most commonly seen amongst competitive athletes and runners.
SpencoRX Heel Cushions
Spenco Rx Heel Cushions - cushion - protects heel from impact and stress - model 42-168
Spenco Rx Thinsole 3/4 Length Orthotic
Spenco Rx Thinsole 3/4 length orthotic - Spenco Orthotic Insoles are thin arch supports - great for flat feet - plantars fasciitis arch pain - 27.95 - free shipping
Archcrafters Walking Custom Comfort Insoles
Archcrafters Custom Comfort Walking Insoles - medium density for cushioning & arch support - micro cell top cover provides shock absorption. $119.95 at the Orthotic Shop
Archcrafters Sport Custom Comfort Insoles
Archcrafters Sport Custom Comfort Insoles - moisture wicking top cover - medium density for stability, comfort & support. $109.95 at the Orthotic Shop
Archcrafters Delicate Custom Comfort Insoles
Archcrafters Delicate Custom Comfort Insoles - great for sensitive feet. Poron plastazote conforming topcover for shock absorption. Medium density for cushioning & arch support. $119.95 at the Orthotic Shop
Archcrafters Custom Comfort Dress Insoles
Archcrafters Custom Comfort Dress Insoles - custom insole for any level of activity. Reinforced heel gives you added heel and ankle stability for optimal support. $99.95 at the Orthotic Shop
Betterform Custom Arch Supports
The Betterform Custom Arch Supports come in a wide variety of types to suit your feet.
Heel Wedges provide stability to the rear of the foot to reduce pronation. Poron laminated-to-leather covering affords superior shock absorption. Available in Small, Medium, and Large.
Betterstep HR - Heel Relief - Pronation Control Orthotics
The Betterstep Heel Relief is a heat moldable pre-made orthotic. The Betterstep HR includes a semi-rigid shell with built-in extrinsic rear foot post and a comfort-gel, shock dispersing heel plug. Available in three sizes: 3/4 length with deluxe fabric cover. Sulcus length, and Full length both includes a 1/8" EVA shock absorbing foam cover. Great for running, walking, hiking, everyday use.
Active Orthotics - Custom Made Insoles
The Active Orthotics meet the needs of the active individual while adapting to a variety of shoe styles. Suitable for heel pain, arch fatigue, plantar fascitis, neuromas and pronation. Features intrinsic fore foot and rear foot posts. The Active orthotics are a general use orthotic.
Sports Orthotics Impact - Rigid Orthotics
The Sports Orthotics Impact is the same as the Sports Orthotics but feature a reinforced arch for increased support and shock absorption for those with a more active lifestyle. They provide extra support and control with extrinsic rear foot and intrinsic fore foot posts. Suitable for arch or heel pain, plantar fascitis, pronation & support.
Formfit Night Splint - Royce Medical, Ossur
The Formfit Night Splint from Royce Medical is designed to impart an effective passive stretch for plantar fascitis symptoms located on the bottom of the foot. Designed with comfort in mind, this model features thick padding throughout the shell and straps to control the amount of stretch necessary for effective treatment.
Top sellers for: Heel Pain
More about this category
Ossur Airform Night Splint – A multi-strap ankle and forefoot brace that’s meant to be worn during sleep in order to stretch and naturally reposition your foot overnight. It’s a simple, effective method for those who’d like to avoid the morning aches and pains associated with plantar fasciitis.
Adjustable Heel Lift – A simple orthotic insert that easily slips into any shoe and strategically positions your heel to deliver pain-relief to those with flat feet or plantar fasciitis.
Active Orthotics Custom Made Insole – These premium orthotic insoles are specially designed by Betterfrom’s foot health experts to acclimate to your foot and accommodate the shoe’s shape. The results? Maximum heel support and decreased pain. These inserts are ideal for those with an active lifestyle.
Other Relief Options
- Wear shoes that fit properly – avoid those that are too tight or too lose around the toe, forefoot or heel.
- Depending on the activity at hand, be sure to wear the appropriate athletic shoes. It’s pretty simple: don’t wear dress shoes if you’re going to play soccer.
- Stretch your Achilles thoroughly before exercising.
- If swelling occurs or persists, use ice to reduce the inflammation – not heat.