Causes of Heel Pain


If you are experiencing pain in one or both heels, this comparison chart will serve as a starting point for your research into the root cause. Here, you will find an overview of extremely common heel pain causes and a summary of treatment options. If your heel pain has become severe, Internet research does not take the place of seeking professional medical assistance, but reviewing this heel pain cause chart may assist you in identifying symptoms which match your own.

Plantar Fasciitis

SymptomsPodiatrists cite Plantar Fasciitis as being the most common cause of heel pain. Typical symptoms of this condition include sensations of pain, burning or heat in one or both heels. Plantar Fasciitis is closely associated with heel pain that occurs upon taking your first steps in the morning, or when getting up after a prolonged period of being seated.
CausesPlantar Fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia ligament spanning the arch of the foot from heel to ball suffers from over-flexion or stretching. The ligament becomes irritated and inflamed and small tears may develop in the tissue. The plantar fascia ligament is designed to bounce with the spring of your step, but in the case of Plantar Fasciitis, this elastic support is reduced, resulting in heel pain as the foot bears the weight of each step. Risk factors for this ailment include intensive exercise without adequate periods of rest, having an irregular gait, being overweight, wearing improper footwear and the normal aging process.
Most cases of Plantar Fasciitis can be resolved without drugs or surgery. A combination of rest, icing, heel stretching exercises and daily use of a specialized Plantar Fasciitis orthotic shoe insert, such as Heel Seats, proves effective in the majority of cases. Nine out of ten Heel That Pain customers report significant heel pain reduction or complete healing from utilizing our clinically-tested inserts.
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Achilles Tendonitis

SymptomsAnother common cause of heel and calf pain is Achilles Tendinitis. Symptoms are frequently described as an aching pain in the back of the lower leg and just above the heel. This sensation is typically worse after exercise and upon first waking up in the morning. If you ever experience severe pain in the calf, you should seek immediate medical attention as extreme pain may be the result of a torn Achilles tendon.
CausesAchilles Tendinitis occurs when the band of tissue connecting your calf muscles to your heel bone, called the Achilles tendon, suffers repetitive or extreme strain. Injury to the tendon is most commonly seen in runners and other athletes. Age is also a factor, particularly when elders exercise only sporadically, such as on the weekends.
Achilles Tendinitis is typically treated via physical therapy and the use of an orthotic device that raises the heel to minimize strain on the tendon. Rest, icing and elevating the leg may be helpful home remedies for this condition, but if calf pain persists for a prolonged period, seek medical attention. In the case of a torn Achilles tendon, surgery may be warranted.
Achilles Tendinitis Overview

Heel Spurs

SymptomsSharp, prodding sensations in the bottom of the heel may be a sign of heel spurs. Heel spurs frequently develop in association with Plantar Fasciitis. They are a calcium build-up on the heel bone with a hooked, pointed or shelf-shaped profile. Heel spurs are also called ‘calcaneal spurs’ or ‘osteophytes’.
CausesIt is believed that heel spurs form in conjunction with Plantar Fasciitis as the body’s way to attempt to ‘shore up’ the loose or misaligned plantar fascia ligament, spanning the arch of the foot. When the biomechanics of the plantar fascia ligament are imbalanced, these body calcium protrusions are attempting to support the damaged tissue. Like Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs can occur from walking with an irregular gait or participating in extreme amounts of exercise without adequate rest.
Though heel spurs, in and of themselves, do not sense pain, they cause pain by prodding into the fatty padding on the bottom of the heel each time you take a step. Pain can range from mild to severe. Rest is very important in recovering from this condition, as is the use of a specialized orthotic shoe insert designed to realign the plantar fascia ligament and enable heel spurs to heal. Heel Seats are endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association and are designed specifically for the treatment of heel spurs and Plantar Fasciitis. In extreme cases, physicians may recommend surgery, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Heel Spurs Overview

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Heel Trauma

SymptomsA single traumatic incident such as an accident, a fall or injury to the heel with a foreign object can result in heel pain. If you experience a sudden onset of pain following a mishap, rather than heel pain developing without an obvious cause, you should seek medical attention.
CausesSlipping, taking a wrong step on an uneven surface or stepping on a hard or sharp object can all cause injury to the heel bone or the fatty layer of tissue protecting the heel.
If pain is severe, call your doctor. If you have stepped on a sharp object and are shedding blood, go to the nearest emergency center.
When To Go To The ER

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