So You Have Heel Pain - Are Orthotic Insoles Really The Answer?
In the United States alone, approximately 2 million Americans suffer from heel pain each year. Heel pain is typically located on the underside of the heel, and occasionally behind it. While this is rarely a symptom of a serious health condition, it can escalate to the point where normal activity, especially exercise, can be extremely painful. Although mild pain in the heel area can commonly disappear on its own, severe pain can become persistent and chronic if ignored.
The human foot and ankle are strong mechanical structures comprising of 28 bones, more than 30 joints, and over a hundred tendons, muscles and ligaments. The unique anatomical structure of the feet facilitates complex movements needed for balance and motion. The primary function of the heel, and the soft tissue surrounding it, is to provide strong but flexible support to bear the weight of the body. Physical activities, such as walking, running or dancing, can put a considerable amount of strain on the foot every time it hits the ground.
The heel and its surrounding soft tissue absorb the sudden shock of the impact and help to maintain fluidity in movement. Shoes and sneakers can augment the heel's ability to deal with these forces. For many people, orthotic insoles (also know as over-the-counter orthotics, prefabricated orthotics, or over-the-counter insoles) can provide even greater support and benefit than shoes alone.