Why Does My Heel Hurt?

Heel pain is a common condition that affects people of all ages and lifestyles. When heel pain strikes, you might dread each step you take. The sharp, stabbing sensation that radiates through your heel can get in the way of even the simplest tasks. Fortunately, understanding the causes behind this discomfort can help you find relief and reclaim your mobility. In this article brought to you by Mountain Spring Podiatry, we explore the primary causes of heel pain and mention some treatment options. If your heel pain is excruciating or chronic, then see a licensed podiatrist, or foot doctor in Bristow, to get long-lasting relief.

Plantar Fasciitis – The Arch Nemesis of Feet

One of the leading culprits behind heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This happens when the plantar fascia, or the thick band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot, becomes inflamed or stressed. Repetitive strain, excessive physical activity, poor foot mechanics, and improper footwear are common factors contributing to plantar fasciitis.

The hallmark symptom of plantar fasciitis is intense heel pain, usually experienced in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. Treatment options for plantar fasciitis include rest, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, physical therapy, and in severe cases, corticosteroid injections or surgical intervention.

“The Achilles Heel”

Another major cause of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis, which affects the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. Overuse, sudden increase in physical activity, tight calf muscles, and unsuitable footwear are common triggers for this condition.

Achilles tendinitis can manifest as a dull ache or stiffness in the back of the heel, and it can be worsened by physical activity. Treatment typically involves rest, ice, compression, physical therapy, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Severe cases may require immobilization with a cast or boot and, in rare instances, treatment may involve surgical intervention.

(Dis)honorable Mentions

While plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis are prominent causes of heel pain, other conditions can also contribute to this agonizing experience. Among the conditions that may cause heel pain are:

  • Heel spurs: Small, bony growths on the heel
  • Bursitis: Inflammation of bursae, or the small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints.
  • Stress fractures: Tiny cracks in the bones.
  • Nerve entrapment: Where a nerve becomes compressed, usually between bone and ligament.
  • Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints.

Each of these conditions has its unique causes and treatment approaches, emphasizing the importance of seeking care by a healthcare professional to identify the underlying issue and tailor the treatment plan accordingly.

When to See a Licensed Podiatrist

Many times, heel pain will go away with some rest, stretching, and/or ice therapy. If your heel pain is severe or does not lessen over the week, then it might be time to visit a podiatrist in Warrenton. A podiatrist is a foot doctor, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of foot conditions. Residents in the area can call Mountain Spring Podiatry to schedule a convenient appointment with a licensed podiatrist today.