Common Causes of Heel Pain

Until heel pain strikes, you probably don’t think much about your heels. However, you put over 60 tons of pressure on each foot with every mile you walk. As a result of related injuries, around two million Americans seek medical care for heel pain every year. 

Mikol Anderson, DPM, the experienced and compassionate podiatrist here at Anderson Foot and Ankle Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah, has treated countless patients for heel pain, helping to restore their mobility and quality of life.

Common causes of heel pain

Over the years, he’s honed his skills to spot the signs of the various conditions that cause heel pain and provides comprehensive diagnostics to confirm your condition. Some of the common culprits include:

Plantar fasciitis

Your plantar fascia is the ligament that stretches between your heel and the ball of your foot. Plantar fasciitis develops when this connective tissue becomes inflamed. The inflammation causes pain in your heel that’s usually at its most intense first thing in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. Many patients describe the sensation like “getting stabbed in the heel with every step.”

Bone spurs 

Bone spurs, sometimes called heel spurs, are calcium deposits that form in response to repeated strain or persistent inflammation. Bone spurs vary in size and contribute to severe heel pain. 

Fractures

You’re most likely to fracture your heel (calcaneus) during a high-impact injury such as a car accident or falling or jumping from a great height. You might also break your heel bone with a sudden and severe twist of your ankle — for example, during a sports injury. 

Achilles tendinitis

Your Achilles tendon is the thickest in your body. It connects your calf muscles to your feet and is critical to your ability to point and flex your foot, which you do with every step you take. Achilles tendinitis is an inflammatory condition that usually develops from repetitive strain. 

Sprains

You can also develop heel pain if you sprain a ligament in your foot or ankle. Sprains are extremely common injuries. Every day, 25,000 Americans sprain their ankles. These injuries cause swelling, pain, and stiffness in the injured ligament as well as the surrounding tissue.

When to talk to a podiatrist about heel pain

Never choose to overlook or ignore pain — pain is your body telling you that something is wrong. If you have mild heel pain, you can try to treat it at home with rest, ice, and elevation. 

However, if your pain persists or becomes more intense instead of subsiding, call our office to make an appointment. You should also talk to Dr. Anderson if you know you sustained an injury, can see a deformity in your foot or ankle, or if your heel pain limits your mobility.

Heel pain treatments

Here at Anderson Foot and Ankle Clinic, we begin with a thorough exam, which might include X-rays to identify the issue causing your foot pain. Then, depending on your specific needs, Dr. Anderson might recommend treatments such as:

If you have heel pain, don’t ignore it. These conditions are unlikely to get better on their own. Call our office or make an appointment online for expert diagnosis and treatment for heel pain. 

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