Heel Pain?

Information provided for educational purposes only. For diagnosis, individualized treatment, and medical advice please make an appointment to visit our qualified podiatrists. Northwest Foot and Ankle Specialists treats a variety of conditions not limited to what is listed here.

Heel pain

The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot, which also has 33 joints and a network of more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Like all bones, it is subject to outside influences that can affect its integrity and its ability to keep us on our feet. Heel pain, sometimes disabling, can occur in the front, back, or bottom of the heel.

Possible Conditions

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis

Inflammation of the Achilles tendon is called Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinosis is the soreness or stiffness of the tendon, generally due to overuse.

 Symptoms

Ache or pain and swelling to the local area of the ankle, or a burning that surrounds the whole joint


 Causes

Injury, over-use, improper stretching


 Home Treatments

Ice, compression, NSAIDs

Surgery may be required


 When to See a Doctor

If the pain doesn't go away with ice and rest, or if the pain persists beyond a week, it's time to see a podiatrist. Seeing a professional for treatment as soon as possible is important, because this injury can lead to an Achilles tendon rupture with continued overuse.

Calcaneal Fracture

Calcaneal (Calcaneus) Fracture

Depressed (crushed) calcaneal fractures occur when the heel is directly or indirectly loaded with excessive force, such as in a fall from a height or in a motor vehicle accident where the heel may be driven into the floorboard.

 Symptoms

Acute pain and a large amount of swelling over the heel, unable to bear weight


 Causes

Fall, injury


 Home Treatments

Immobilization, rest, ice, elevation

Surgery may be required


 When to See a Doctor

See a professional for treatment as soon as possible

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot.

 Symptoms

Typically sharp and usually unilateral pain. Worsened by bearing weight on the heel after long periods of rest


 Causes

Excessive running, standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods, high arches of the feet, leg length inequality, and flat feet


 Home Treatments

Rest, heat, ice, calf-strengthening exercises, NSAIDs

Surgery may be required


 When to See a Doctor

If pain and other symptoms of inflammation—redness, swelling, heat—persist, limit normal daily activities and contact a doctor of podiatric medicine.

Haglund's Deformity

Haglund's Deformity

Bony enlargement of the back of the heel bone. Sometimes it's called “pump bump” because the deformity often occurs in women who wear pumps.

 Symptoms

Enlarged bony prominence on the back of the heel, heel pain, blisters on your heels


 Causes

High arches, a tight Achilles tendon, or a tendency to walk on the outside of your feet


 Home Treatments

Icing, NSAIDs, heel pads, rest

Surgery may be required


 When to See a Doctor

If the pain persists despite your home remedies, or if the bump continues to enlarge, it's time to see a podiatrist.