The Causes of Heel Pain (And What You Can Do About It)

by | Aug 27, 2019

We treat patients for many different foot and ankle conditions here at Family Foot & Ankle Center, and one of the most common problems is heel pain. This can partially be attributed to the fact there are several different potential root causes of this type of pain, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, Sever’s disease, and stress fractures.

No matter which condition is causing discomfort in your heels, be sure to come in and see our team of expert podiatrists for the effective foot care you need!

We will perform a thorough evaluation of your feet and ankles in order to determine an accurate diagnosis. Based on what we find, we can then provide the best tools available to get rid of your heel pain for good – and we offer many treatment options right here at our office that will do just that.

But first, let’s talk about what causes this common problem.

Finding the Culprit of Your Heel Pain

Over the course of a typical day, your feet go through a lot. All the standing and walking we do increases the amount of physical force placed on those lower limbs. In fact, our heels can endure forces up to four times our body weight whenever we jog, run or jump!

So you can see why heel pain is such a common problem in the first place. And when it comes to the various causes of this type of discomfort, there are many possible culprits to take into consideration:

  • Plantar fasciitis. This condition develops when the plantar fascia – a fibrous band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot – sustains tears due to excessive stress. Typically, patients will experience intense pain in the bottom of the heel, especially following sleep or extended periods of rest or inactivity.
  • Achilles tendinitis. When intense physical activity is suddenly performed, or the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse, you can develop pain in the back of the heel.
  • Sever’s disease. This is the leading cause of heel pain for adolescents, and it’s caused by an inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone. When excessive stress is placed on the bones and joints in the feet and ankles, heel pain will often develop.

Of course, there are other causes of heel pain, like fractures and bursitis, but the common thread binding all of these conditions is the fact you should seek treatment. Doing so will not only relieve existing symptoms, but also help prevent long-term issues.

Getting the Relief You Need

Now, you may be thinking: So what can I do about my heel pain? And the good news is there are many options to effectively treat the source of your discomfort – most of which are conservative in nature!

One nonsurgical option we may include in your treatment plan is the use of custom orthotics. These versatile devices can be used to correct an array of potential foot and ankle conditions, including those that cause heel pain.

We may also recommend some combination of the conservative treatments below:

  • Footwear changes
  • Routine stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections

Patients are often able to find significant relief – if not altogether eradicate their discomfort – through the use of these conservative treatment methods. However, in rare cases, surgical approach may be necessary. In which case, we will let you know exactly what to expect from every step of the procedure and answer any questions you might have.

Preventing Heel Pain

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to prevent heel pain is to engage in practices that help strengthen and protect your feet. Here are some easy measures you can take to make sure your feet are always prepared:

  • Stretch daily. Especially before and after performing physical activities.
  • Take your time. Increase activity levels gradually, and never go “full-throttle” right away.
  • Do some cross-training. Alternate between high and low-impact activities to give your heels a chance to rest.
  • Use the RICE method. Rest, ice and compress your heels, and keep your feet elevated as much as possible.
  • Never push through the pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you feet discomfort, don’t ignore it.
  • Wear the right shoes. Choose footwear with good arch support, as well as protection and cushioning for your heels.

(For more information on simple heel pain treatments you can perform at home, read “At-Home Treatment for Heel Pain.”)

That said, if you ever experience pain, tenderness, or swelling in your feet, you should come visit our office right away! Without proper care, heel pain conditions will get progressively worse.  

Don’t Ignore Heel Pain – Get Rid of It Today!

The best way to know exactly why your heel hurts and what needs to be done about it is coming in so we can evaluate the problem for you. Foot pain is something that should not be ignored, so make sure you contact Family Foot & Ankle Center for the expert diagnosis and treatment you need.

You can call our office at (909) 920-0884 or contact us online.



984 W. Foothill Blvd, Suite B
Upland, California 91786

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