What Causes Heel Pain? Symptoms & Treatment

Have you ever experienced the excruciating pain on the heel each time you take a walk or stand on your leg? If your answer is yes then you might be familiar with the heel pain. Have you ever wondered why your heel pains so much all the time? Well, this article will help you to unravel the intriguing facts behind your heel pain. Let’s delve straight into it.

What Is Heel Pain?

Heel pain is a common and discomforting foot and ankle problem. An individual may feel the heel pain in the back of the foot. Especially in the area where the heel bone connects to the Achilles tendon. Medication, rest, and stretching routines can reduce the pain. Completely neglecting your pain may result in the development of other chronic problems. 

Heel Pain

Causes Of Heel Pain

There are various potential causes of heel pain. A medical professional will help you to understand the exact reason behind your heel pain. Accurate diagnosing will help to manage the heel pain more effectively. Some common causes of heel heel pain include,

  • Plantar Fasciitis – One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. You may develop the condition when the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot gets strained or inflamed. The intensity of pain may vary according to the individual. This condition leads to a sharp stabbing pain in the heel, especially in the morning or after a period of activity. 
  • Achilles Tendinitis – When the Achilles tendon gets inflamed, it may result in pain in the back of the heel. Injuries or overuse can lead to Achilles tendinitis. 
  • Heel Spurs – Heel spur is a bony protrusion that develops on the bottom of the heel bone due to the calcium deposit. A heel spur can lead to localized pain.
  • Stress Fracture – Microfractures caused by stress and repetitive impact may result in stress fractures. This condition can lead to throbbing and persistent pain.
  • Aging and wear and tear – Older people have an increased risk of developing heel pain. As an individual age, the fat pad cushion may get thinner and it will result in heel pain.
  • Wearing the wrong footwear – Sometimes, there will not be any underlying medical condition for your heel pain. An ill-fitting shoe or footwear can contribute to heel pain. Wearing the wrong size of footwear or high heels may add extra stress and strain to the heel.
  • Other Medical Conditions – Other medical conditions like gout, arthritis, or nerve compression will also contribute to heel pain.

Symptoms Of Heel Pain

Since there are various underlying causes for heel pain, the symptoms may vary based on the root cause of your heel pain. Common symptoms of heel pain are,

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Painful bony growth 
  • Inflammation 
  • Stiffness
  • Inability to stand for a prolonged period due to pain
  • Pain in the heel that goes away after a period of activity
  • Pain in the heel immediately after getting out of the bed
  • Bruising or redness

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Diagnosis And Treatment Of Heel Pain

Finding the underlying cause behind the heel pain will be the first step, to figuring out the reason your healthcare provider may carefully evaluate your medical history and other aspects such as your activity level, footwear choices, or previous history of injuries. For further evaluation, a physical examination of the foot and ankle and imaging tests like ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI will be needed to diagnose the origin of heel pain.

After the specific diagnosis, your doctor decides the choice of treatment. Here are some of the chief treatment choices for treating heel pain.

  • Administrating proper rest
  • Activity modification and restraining from doing certain activities
  • Applying ice to the painful area
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching exercises
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Custom or over-the-counter orthotic insoles
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Surgery

When To See Your Doctor

If your heel pain does not go away and your symptoms get worse even after a few weeks of rest, or the heel pain starts to interrupt your mobility are the telltale signs to seek medical help as soon as possible.


Heel pain is a complex issue, if you are experiencing heel pain, consult your health care provider or a podiatrist. Ignoring the signs and symptoms of feeling pain can lead to severe discomfort and potentially more serious complications.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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