Heel Pain: The 5 Most Common Causes
- Posted on: Jan 15 2017
An extremely common complaint, heel pain is a result of repeated stress and pounding of the heel. This pain may be more frequent at night or while resting. Sometimes it can make it difficult to walk comfortably on the side where the pain resides. You may also notice swelling or discoloration at the back of the foot in conjunction with your heel pain, and the pain may persist for more than a few days. If this sounds like what you’re experiencing, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor.
Some of the most common causes of heel pain include:
1. Plantar Fasciitis. Perhaps the most common condition, plantar fasciitis occurs when the tight tissue that forms the arch of the foot is stretched too far. This can lead to inflammation and irritation, usually where the soft tissue fibers attach to the heel bone. This pain can usually be felt under the foot, especially after resting for a long period of time, but it can occur in the middle of your foot too.
2. Heel bumps. Most common in teenagers, heel bumps are bony lumps on the back of your heel. Often called “pump bumps,” they can be caused by flat feet or, in women, by wearing high heels early in life before the bone is fully mature. When the heel bone isn’t mature, it rubs excessively against the shoe, causing too much bone to grow.
3. Inflammation at the back of the heel. Known as heel bursitis, inflammation of the heel can be caused by pressure from certain shoes, or from landing hard or awkwardly on your heels. Heel bursitis causes pain deep inside or at the back of the heel, which usually gets worse as the day goes on.
4. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Much like carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand, tarsal tunnel syndrome can lead to pain in the heel. This is caused when a larger nerve in the back of the foot becomes pinched or compressed.
5. Achilles tendonitis. this is a chronic condition that is accompanied by the gradual degeneration of the Achilles tendon. When there are tiny microscopic tears on the tendon that don’t heal the right way, the Achilles tendon doesn’t work properly. Over time the tendon gets thicker, weaker and more painful.
Don’t let heel pain interfere with your life. For more information about diagnosing and treating heel pain, or to schedule an appointment, contact Foot and Ankle Specialty Group online or call 310.651.2366.