Causes of Heel & Leg Pain

Pain in the leg
Leg pain can have many causes. (Image: Remains/iStock/Getty Images)

Leg and heel pain can hinder a person's mobility and cause a lot of pain. There can many reasons for pain in the leg and the heel, some injuries will need medical care while other injuries will heal with home treatment. If the person experiences severe pain or the injury does not get better in a few days, the person should seek medical care.

Achilles Rupture

The Achilles tendon connects the back of the calf muscle in the leg to the heel and helps a person walk and rise up on their toes. When the Achilles tendon ruptures, it is stretched beyond its normal capability. The rupture can be a partial tear or a complete tear. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the Achilles tendon can rupture from jumping, pivoting, accelerations in running and over-stretching. Signs and symptoms include sudden pain in the heel and the lower leg, swelling between the lower leg and heel and difficulty walking. Treatment includes icing the injury, elevating the heel and leg above the person's heart and wearing an elastic bandage.

Stress Fracture

A stress fracture is a tiny break or breaks in the bone caused by overuse, such as long distance running. People with osteoporosis may also develop stress fractures. Stress fractures generally occur in the lower leg or foot, where all the weight of a person is placed. According to MayoClinic.com, signs and symptoms of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling and the injured site may feel tender to the touch. Treatment includes taking acetaminophen to relieve pain, a doctor may recommend that a person wear a walking boot, brace or use crutches to keep weight off the foot.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a tendon that connects the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, plantar fasciitis is caused by the structure of the foot. People with flat feet or those who have high arches are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. However, those who are obese may also develop plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain in the heel, especially in the morning. Treatment includes stretching, not going barefoot, wearing supportive shoes, applying ice and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

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