Heel pain is usually focused on the underside or the back of your heel. If your pain is on the underside of your heel, its likely cause is plantar fasciitis. Pain on the back of your heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel bone, is Achilles tendinitis. Although heel pain is rarely a symptom of a serious condition, it can interfere with your normal activities, particularly exercise.
Causes of heel pain
- Some of the many causes of heel pain can include:
- Abnormal walking style (gait), such as rolling the feet inwards
- Ill-fitting shoes
- Standing, running or jumping on hard surfaces
- Injury to the heel, such as stress fractures
- Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa – bursae are small sacs that contain fluid to lubricate moving parts, such as joints and muscles)
- Neuroma (nerve enlargement)
- Certain disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.
Diagnosis of heel pain
- Depending on the condition, the cause of heel pain is diagnosed using a number of tests, including:
- Medical history
- Physical examination, including examination of joints and muscles of the foot and leg.
- Treatment for heel pain
Depending on the underlying cause, treatment can include:
- Rest from activities that stress the heel (such as running and jumping)
- Ice packs
- Regular foot massage, concentrating on the arch of the foot
- Professional strapping
- A splint worn at night
- Flexibility exercises
- Ultrasound therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medicine (topical or oral)
- Checking your posture and walking style, to correct imbalances and gait abnormalities that may contribute to the pain
- Shoe inserts (orthoses) to help support the foot
- In some cases, surgery may be recommended to treat conditions including neuroma, bursitis and heel spurs.