Pain in the back of the heel, also known as posterior heel pain, can be the result of various afflictions. Most often, people will experience it if wearing inappropriate shoes for longer periods of time.
Of course, there are other, more serious, medical conditions causing this pain, and we will be discussing them down below.
This pain is usually caused by one of the following conditions:
- Achilles Tendonitis – Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon I our body, found at the back of the lower leg, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. And Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation in the tendon caused by extensive use, improper footwear, micro-tears etc
- Haglund`s Deformity – This is an anatomical deformity where a bony enlargement at the back of the heel appears. And as we walk, our shoes rub against this bony bump and cause an inflammation in the bursa (a cushioning sack between bone and tendon). This deformity often occurs in women wearing pumps
- Achilles tendon calcification
- Retrocalcaneal Bursitis – This is an inflammation in the bursa we talked about earlier. The area behind the heel will often become swollen, red and warm to touch
Are You Experiencing Pain When Running?
If you are, chances are you have developed what is called a “Runners Achilles Heel.” This is nothing more than a fancy name for acute, and in most cases chronic Achilles tendinitis cause by the long hours of continuous strain.
This is a common injury in most team sports, such as basketball, football/soccer, but it will also trouble dancers and especially runners. It is estimated that around 11% of all running injuries are related to Achilles tendon.
How To Diagnose It?
Diagnosing a specific problem with your foot/heel which is causing your pain can be very tricky, especially because a lot of these causes (discussed above) may occur at the same time, so it is not advised to do self-diagnosis based solely on the information you can dig up from online publications.
You need to visit a medical professional, get proper diagnosis, so he/she can devise a proper plan for treating it.
Should You Do The Treatment Yourself?
Definitely not, for the reasons we discussed just above. Of course, there is something you can do to make the pain more bearable and increase your chances of early recovery:
- Apply ice to the affected area. Ice will help cool down the inflammation, reduce the swelling and relieve pain. It is important to note that you shouldn’t apply ice directly to the skin, you should always use a cloth or apply it over your sock. By the way, if you have weak circulation, you should probably avoid using ice.
- If you experience pain while running or walking, stop immediately. Place the foot in a comfortable position and wait until the pain goes away.
- Use comfortable shoes. Ideally, you should be using open back shoes with slight heel elevation. This will ease off the pressure off the tendon and allow it to recover
- And finally, visit your doctor!