The Most Common Causes Of Heel Pain

January 10th, 2020 Becki Andrus

Whether you find yourself at your home, at your workplace, or traveling to various activities at other locations, you are extremely dependent upon your feet to transport you each day. It has been stated that 60 tons of stress is placed on each foot whenever you walk a mile. Normally, your feet are designed to handle the workload of their responsibilities.

However, sometimes issues can emerge that will impact your ability to rely upon your feet as you normally would. This certainly applies to your heel, which is located at the bottom rear area of your foot.

When an inflammation, injury, or other condition occurs that has affected your heel, it might be tempting to ignore any initial pain that might develop. This is due to the importance that you place upon maintaining your daily lifestyle. But it will be beneficial to understand the most common problems that can create pain in your heel. This will help you avoid prolonging any issues that might occur, while also providing you with an understanding of when you should visit a doctor.  


If you are feeling discomfort in your heel, there are multiple reasons why it might be occurring. Plantar fasciitis is the most frequent cause of heel pain, and the recovery period can sometimes be both lengthy and challenging. The U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) has stated that over 10% of the population. experiences this condition.

You have plantar fascia that is located in your arch, and issues can occur if part of the fascia develops a tear. That, in turn, can result in an inflammation of this tissue that is located at the bottom of your foot.

Your risk of contending with plantar fasciitis increases if you engage in repetitive running, dancing, or other forms of exercise that can place continual stress on your foot. This is also the case if your job requires you to stand on hard surfaces. Obesity and the aging process can also raise the risk of experiencing this condition.

If you are dealing with plantar fasciitis, then you very likely will contend with a stabbing pain in your heel. This will usually emerge when you attempt your first steps each morning. The stabbing can also be experienced when you begin to walk after sitting for a long period of time.

Any attempts to ignore the discomfort without taking any steps to improve the condition can lead to long-term issues. It can also create additional health problems with your foot, hip, back, or knee. This is especially true if you alter the way in which you walk without properly addressing the plantar fasciitis condition itself.

Heel spurs are calcium deposits that form and continue to build under the heel bone. This is usually a gradual process and it occurs as the result of strain that has been placed on the muscles and ligaments of the foot. Heel spurs can also develop if the plantar fasciitis condition has been impacting your heel for a lengthy period of time.

The risk of incurring a heel spur will rise if you engage in running or jogging on a frequent basis – particularly if the exercise takes place on hard surfaces. Obesity will also increase the odds of contending with heel spurs, along with any type of walking that stresses the heel bone.

Your risk of contending with plantar fasciitis increases if you engage in repetitive running, dancing, or other forms of exercise that can place continual stress in your foot. This is also the case if your job requires you to stand on hard surfaces. Obesity and the aging process can also raise the risk of dealing with this condition.

stone bruise can emerge if you have accidentally stepped on a hard object such as a rock. It can also develop if you experience an impact on your foot for any other reason. In either case, the situation can result in a painful bruise.

Heel bursitis is an additional condition that can emerge if the bursa become inflamed. Bursa refers to sacs of fluid that supply a cushion to the joints and bones in the foot. Continual stress from walking and certain athletic activities can create an inflammation of the bursa. Pain and swelling located in the back of the heel are indications that heel bursitis has occurred. You also might notice redness or warmth in the skin that is located at the back of your heel.

If you experience an impact on your foot that is significant, it is possible that your heel could break. This could take place after an automobile accident or a fall, and the result would be a heel fracture. This is a more serious health issue than the other conditions that were mentioned.


The stabbing pain that is associated with plantar fasciitis was discussed earlier. In many cases, individuals with heel spurs will not experience any symptoms. However, pain can emerge during the activities that were mentioned – running, jogging, and walking. Pain can also occur When initially standing up after a lengthy period of sitting. This is similar to the timing of pain for plantar fasciitis.

The primary symptom related to a stone bruise is a painful feeling in the heel when you attempt to put weight on your foot. Discomfort that is also accompanied by swelling or bruising are the most common indications of a heel fracture. This is also the case if you are having difficulty when you attempt to walk.

When To Visit A Doctor

If you are experiencing severe pain or swelling in your heel, then you should visit a physician immediately. This is also the case if you are dealing with numbness, tingling, or the inability to walk.

You should also visit a doctor if you are contending with heel discomfort that lingers even if you are sitting, or if your pain has continued for several weeks.

Your physician will ask a series of questions concerning your symptoms, your medical history, and the medical history within your family. Additional testing and imaging might also be involved in order to determine the origin of your discomfort.

Your physician might prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and discomfort. In many cases, physical therapy will become the recommended form of treatment. Surgery is less common but might be advised by your doctor based upon the specifics of your condition.

At Orthopedic Associates We Can Help

At Orthopedic Associates, we want you to enjoy your daily activities. That includes sustaining good health before, during, and after involvement with any type of work, exercise or additional activities that you prefer. If you encounter discomfort, illness, injury, or have a concern about anything that might keep you from being involved in any activity, we are here to assist you. Our ultimate objective is for you to experience pain-free participation in the activities and lifestyle that you enjoy.  

That is why Orthopedic Associates offers a full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, along with in-house physical sports therapy, and state-of-the-art-technology including our digital imaging and open MRI, and an on-site surgical center for more patient convenience.

Our board-certified doctors – including foot specialist Michael J. Willenborg – have been practicing medicine for a combined total of 183 years of experience. This helps our physicians provide personalized care for a broad range of conditions, including a wide range of issues that might occur with your feet.

Conditions of the feet that we treat include:

  • Accessory Navicular
  • Adult Acquired Flatfoot
  • Bunion
  • Bunionette Deformity (Tailor’s Bunion)
  • Cavus Foot (High-Arched Foot)
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)
  • Charcot’s Neuroarthropathy (CN)
  • Claw Toe
  • Clubfoot (Talipes Equinovarus)
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Corns
  • Diabetic Foot
  • Fracture of the Heel Bone (Calcaneus)
  • Gout
  • Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe)
  • Hammer Toe
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Jones Fractures
  • LisFranc (Midfoot) Fracture-Dislocation
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • MTP Synovitis (Capsulitis)
  • Peroneal Tendon Tears
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Plantar Warts
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Foot
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Stress Fractures of the Footarsal Tunnel Syndrome (Posterior Tibial Neuralgia)

Our orthopedic experts are highly experienced in performing numerous types of treatments for your feet. These treatments include:

  • Amniotic and Placental Graft
  • Tissue for Surgery and Wound Care
  • Anesthesia
  • Bunion Correction with Scarf and Akin Osteotomy
  • Bunionectomy
  • Bunionette Deformity Correctionalcaneal Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Calcaneal Sliding Osteotomy (with Lateral Plate Fixation)
  • Calcaneal Tongue-Type Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Cartilage Repair
  • Charcot Foot Treatment Options
  • Cheilectomy
  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Cotton Osteotomy (Medial Cuneiform Opening Wedge Osteotomy)
  • DuVries Arthroplasty
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy (EPF)
  • Excision of Mortons Neuromas
  • First MTP Joint Fusion/Replacement
  • Fixation for LisFranc Injury
  • Hammertoe Correction (PIP Joint Arthroplasty)
  • Jones Fracture Fixation
  • Kidner Procedure
  • Lapidus Arthrodesis (with Medial Plate Fixation)
  • Lapidus Procedure for Bunion Correction
  • Lateral Column Lengthening (Evans Osteotomy) for Adult Acquired Flatfoot
  • LisFranc Ligament Repair (Suture Button Technique)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Mallet Toe Correction (DIP Joint Arthroplasty)
  • Medial Calcaneal Sliding Osteotomy
  • Metatarsal Fracture Fixation (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation)
  • Metatarsal Head Resurfacing with Collagen Interpositional Grafting
  • Midfoot Fusion
  • Minimal Incision Toe Bone Spur Removal
  • Multimodal Anesthesia and Pain Control
  • Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)
  • Partial Nail Removal (Matrixectomy)
  • Plantar Fascia Release (Open Technique)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Pulse Dye Laser Wart Removal
  • Radiofrequency Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
  • Intramedullary Memory Implant
  • Subtalar Implant/Fusion
  • Tarsal Tunnel Decompression
  • Tendon Transfer/Repair
  • Triple Arthrodesis
  • Weil Osteotomy for Claw Toe

We encourage you to visit one of Orthopedic Associates’ two locations or request an appointment today to be on your way to feeling better.

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