What Causes Pain in Back of Heel When Walking?

 

The most common causes for pain in the back of your heel when walking is Achilles Tendinitis and Heel Spurs. These two combined are very painful!

 

Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone. The Achillies tendon allows you to push off with the front of your foot, making us able to run and walk. As we perform activities such as running and walking, it can cause this tendon to become inflamed and swollen. Not only does your Achillies tendon become inflamed, it also pulls on the heel bone causing tiny cracks. These cracks heal and are not usually painful. That being said, this process happens over and over the years creating a heel spur. This heel spur is a spike on the end of your heel bone that digs into your Achillies tendon as you’re walking, creating pain in the back of your heel when you walk. Of course injury is another common cause to experience pain. You could simply over extend your foot or ankle causing strain your tendon and heel bone.

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Heel Spurs
  • Injury

Symptoms

If you feel along the Achillies tendon it will be painful! The pain is usually accompanied with swelling and redness. A simple way to tell if you have achillies tendinitis is to stand on the ball of your foot, and see if you experience pain or discomfort in the back of your heel. Every time you take a step your achillies tendon absorbs most of the force. As you pull up on the Achillies tendon this also pulls on the band that runs along the bottom of your foot called the plantar fascia.

  • Pain – Heel/Achillies tendon
  • Redness – Heel/Achillies tendon
  • Swelling – Heel/Achillies tendon

Treatment

When you first wake up, start by massaging out your foot. After massaging your foot, follow with simple gentle walking for fifteen minutes. Doing this helps blood flow, decreasing inflammation. Icing fifteen to twenty minutes, up to three times a day, also helps relieve inflammation. This dramatically speeds up the healing process, as you can not begin to heal until the inflammation has gone away. One of the best things you can do to help is stretch your muscles and tendons. Start with Hamstring stretches, stretching both legs for thirty seconds two to three times. You will want to do the same with your calf muscles and plantar fascia. Doing this after a couple of weeks you will start to notice you will be able to stand, walk, run and stretch with less pain. There are tools that can stretch out your plantar fascia and calf muscles, called night splints that you can discuses with your podiatrist. After this, you want to get a nice supportive shoe, along with some over the counter inserts for great arch support.  You want to stick with a more ridged support and not a gel insert.

  • Massage your foot
  • Icing
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Stretching
  • Night splints
  • Arch supports
  • Good foot wear

See your Podiatrist!

It is very important to see your podiatrist with any foot or ankle concerns. In doing so you will ensure the fastest route to recovery!