What's Causing Your Heel Pain?

The heel is the largest bone in your foot, so when it hurts, it can affect every step you take. Heel pain can limit your activities and lead to referred pain as you adjust your gait to avoid the pain. Usually, heel pain is a result of injury or overuse.

Our team at the Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine does a complete evaluation of your heel pain symptoms to determine the reason you’re hurting. Sometimes, you can resolve heel pain with simple at-home strategies, such as rest and over-the-counter pain medications, but we also let you know if steroid injections, splinting, inserts, and physical therapy is necessary.

Read on to learn about the common causes of heel pain so you can get an idea of what may be bothering you.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of connective tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot. You experience stabbing pain that’s especially intense in the morning and may ease somewhat during the day, only to return if you sit or stand for long periods of time.  

Runners, those who are overweight, or people who wear shoes with poor support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.


It’s possible to bruise your heel from the repeated force of hitting the ground or from a one-off incident. Severe pain can also result from a broken bone in your heel. These concerns need immediate care. Call our office if you suspect a bruise or break.

Achilles tendinitis

You might associate Achilles tendinitis with the backside of your ankle, where the tendon attaches the calf muscle to the heel. The heel can become inflamed, too, causing radiating pain.


Arthritis pain usually affects the joints, but can cause referred pain in the heel. Many types of arthritis can cause pain in the heel, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Arthritis pain causes stiffness and swelling and can result in additional problems, such as tingling and thickened skin.  


Fluid-filled sacs that form around your joints called bursae can become inflamed and cause pain. A set of these sacs sits behind your Achilles tendon and can be irritated from overuse, such as too much running or jumping. Swelling in your heel, pain in your calf, pain when running, and stiffness are all symptoms.

Prevent heel pain

Of course, you can’t always stop an injury or genetic condition from striking, but you can prevent many forms of heel pain with action, such as:

If heel pain does strike, our team at the Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is ready to help. We run evaluations as warranted, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, and then develop a customized treatment plan according to your particular issue and lifestyle.

Dr. Geldwert and his team presented a ten year follow up study at the American College of Foot and Ankle conference on the conservative treatment of plantar fasciitis. His research found that 87% of patients with plantar fasciitis improved with the use of custom made orthotic devices and a foot and calf exercise program.

If you have heel pain, we want you to get back to full function as quickly as possible. Call one of our offices or book your appointment online for diagnosis and treatment before your pain escalates. 

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