Foot & Ankle
What are the causes of heel pain?
The main causes of a painful heel include:
- Plantar fasciitis: This is a common cause of heel pain, which is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It usually presents as a sharp pain in the heel, particularly in the morning or after prolonged periods of standing or walking.
- Achilles tendinitis: Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can cause pain in the back of the heel and is often seen in athletes or those who engage in activities that require repetitive jumping or running.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is the inflammation of a small fluid-filled sac (bursa) located near the heel bone. It can cause pain and tenderness in the heel, particularly with pressure or movement.
- Stress fractures: Stress fractures are small cracks in the bones of the foot or ankle and can occur due to repetitive stress or overuse. They can cause pain and tenderness in the heel and are often seen in athletes or those who engage in high-impact activities.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome: This is a condition caused by compression of the tibial nerve that runs along the inside of the ankle. It can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the heel and other areas of the foot.
- Arthritis: Several types of arthritis can cause heel pain, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
- Poor footwear: Wearing shoes that do not fit properly or do not provide proper support can cause heel pain.
- Nerve damage: Nerve damage can occur due to injury, surgery, or a medical condition such as diabetes, causing heel pain.
The specific treatment for heel pain will depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Treatment options may include rest, physical therapy, stretching exercises, orthotics, medication, or surgery in severe cases.