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Heel pain

Heel pain is a common complaint among people of all ages and can be caused by a variety of conditions. Some of the most common causes of heel pain include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, and stress fractures.

Heel pain is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes of heel pain include:

  • Plantar fasciitis: This is a condition that affects the band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. It is caused by overuse or repetitive strain, and can lead to inflammation and pain in the heel. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include sharp pain in the heel, especially when taking the first steps in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time.

  • Heel spurs: A heel spur is a bony growth that forms on the heel bone. It can cause pain when it rubs against the surrounding soft tissue or when pressure is applied to the heel. They can cause pain and discomfort in the heel and can be felt as a sharp, stabbing pain with each step.

  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints, including the joints in the foot. This can cause pain and stiffness in the heel.

  • Stress fractures: Heel pain can also be caused by stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bones caused by overuse or repetitive strain. This type of heel pain is often caused by overuse, such as from running or jumping, and is characterized by sharp pain and tenderness in the heel, especially with weight-bearing activities.

  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the foot, such as the Achilles tendon, can cause heel pain. Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include pain and stiffness in the heel, especially after activity, and a burning or shooting pain in the back of the heel.

  • Bursitis: This is a condition that affects the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints, including those in the heel. When the bursae become inflamed, it can cause pain and discomfort in the heel.

Nerve impingements: Compression of the nerves in the heel can cause pain, tingling, or numbness in the foot.

It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing persistent heel pain, as some of these conditions can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Diagnosing the cause of heel pain typically involves a physical examination, a review of the patient's medical history, and imaging tests, such as x-rays or MRI scans. Treatment for heel pain varies depending on the underlying cause, but may include rest, ice, physical therapy, shoe inserts or orthotics, and, in severe cases, surgery.


Treatment of heel pain depends upon the cause of heal pain. Here are some ways to prevent and treat heel pain:

Stretching: Stretching the muscles and tendons in your feet, especially before and after physical activity, can help prevent heel pain.

  • Shoes: Wearing shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole can help distribute pressure more evenly across the foot and reduce the strain on the heel. Avoid wearing high heels, which can put excessive pressure on the heel.

  • Orthotics: Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, can be prescribed by a doctor to provide additional arch support and cushioning for the heel.

  • Ice: Applying ice to the heel can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel and place it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation in the heel.

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can design a program of exercises and stretches to help strengthen the muscles and tendons in the foot, reduce stress on the heel, and relieve pain.

  • Cortisone injections: In some cases, a doctor may recommend a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a heel spur or repair a damaged tendon.

It is important to note that not all treatments work for all types of heel pain, and the best course of action will depend on the underlying cause of the pain. If you are experiencing persistent heel pain, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Is type of Shoe important in preventing heel pain?

Yes, the type of shoe can be important in preventing heel pain. Wearing shoes that provide proper support and cushioning to the feet can help reduce the risk of developing heel pain. Here are some features to look for when choosing shoes to prevent heel pain:

  • Arch support: Shoes with good arch support can help distribute weight evenly across the foot and reduce the pressure on the heel.

  • Cushioning: Shoes with adequate cushioning can help absorb shock and reduce the impact on the heel.

  • Heel height: A low heel height (1-2 inches) is recommended to reduce the stress on the heel. High heels can put extra pressure on the heel and increase the risk of pain.

  • Fit: It's important to make sure that shoes fit properly and don't cause discomfort or rub against the heel.

It's also a good idea to see a podiatrist or a foot specialist if you are experiencing persistent heel pain, as they can assess your individual needs and recommend the best type of shoe for you.


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