Your heel is made up of fatty tissue which cushions and protects the heel bone (calcaneus)and other structures of the foot such as the additional muscles and ligaments. Your heel helps to shape the arch of your foot, and together, they both have an important role in ensuring that any forces exerted onto the foot (e.g. while you're walking, running or jumping) are distributed evenly to avoid placing too much strain on one area.
Majority of us rely on our heels daily, so heel pain is a very common foot complaint. Many conditions that cause heel pain, are related to overuse, when extra strain is placed on the heel during exercise or repetitive daily activities. Pain can be felt on the bottom, side or back of your heel, depending on the condition you have developed.
We've highlighted the most common causes of heel pain below. Click through for more information on each one, and to find out how we would treat the condition.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when your plantar fascia, the thick fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot is placed under increased stress, causing painful inflammation.
A cracked heel are a common foot problem that occurs when dry, thick skin on the bottom of your heels cracks and splits.
Warts are a growth on the skin that is caused by a viral infection. They are very contagious so you will usually pick them up in communal areas (such as swimming pools). A wart that you find on the sole of your foot is officially called a plantar wart.
Sever's disease (calcaneal apophysitis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain in children and young adolescents, occurring from inflammation of the growth plate in the heel.
Corns & calluses are areas of thickened skin caused by pressure or friction. Calluses are not usually painful whereas a corn is smaller and has a painful "core" centre surrounded by inflamed skin.
A blister, or specifically a friction blister, is a fluid-filled sac enclosed by skin that develops on the outer layers of your skin in response to repetitive friction, usually caused by ill-fitting shoes.
Heel spurs (calcaneal spurs) are bony bumps of calcium deposits that form on the heel bone. They often result from long periods (months and years) of stress being placed on the tendons that attach to the heel bone.
Athlete's Foot is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on your feet. This fungus causes the skin to become itchy, red and often flaky, particularly between the toes or on the soles of your feet.
Achilles tendinopathy is a degenerative condition thought to be caused by gradual wear and tear of the tendon, usually from overuse or ageing.