Overview of Heel Pain
Your feet take a beating every day. Every step you take, every stair you climb, the feet are doing the heavy lifting. While the feet are anatomically designed to withstand significant forces, too much stress sometimes overloads the foot leading to heel pain.
Individuals that experience pain in the heel or soreness in the heel area, will usually recover by eliminating activities that put additional stress on the foot, such as running and jumping. Some patients develop pain that is not relieved by rest and this may warrant an evaluation by one of our providers.
Some examples of this include:
- Pain on the bottom of the heel: Symptoms that occur beneath the heel can vary from a simple bruise to chronic plantar fasciitis. Simple bruising on the heel from a rigorous strike of the heel usually goes away in a few days with rest. Pain on the bottom of the heel is frequently due to damage to the plantar fascia. Too much training, running, jumping, etc. can cause the fascia to become inflamed leading to swelling and pain. Pain is typically the worst in the morning and after prolonged activity. Please see the plantar fasciitis page for more information.
- Pain Behind the Heel: Pain on the superior portion of the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts is also a common complaint. Soccer players, runners, and those participating in other sports where running is constant, are at greater risk for developing this particular type of heel pain. This is an inflammatory condition which can cause a bump on the posterior aspect of the heel.
Common causes of heel pain include:
- Tendonitis (Achilles)
- Bone Spurs
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Bruising of the Bone
- Ligament Tears or Ruptures
What are Heel Pain Symptoms?
Symptoms associated with heel pain will be based on the cause of the pain. Regardless if the pain is coming from directly beneath the heel, the top portion of the bone or behind it, the area of the foot will be inflamed and tender to the touch. Relief usually comes by resting the foot all together and/or not firing the Achilles tendon.
Diagnostic Testing for Heel Pain
Our physicians will be able to diagnose a variety of heel conditions that lead to heel pain by completing a thorough physical exam and ordering a set of X-rays. Occasionally a CT scan or an MRI is necessary to evaluate the calcaneous (heel bone), the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
How to Treat Heel Pain
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Most cases of heel pain, regardless of the cause, can be treated conservatively with reset, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. If the pain persists and symptoms do not go away with 2-4 weeks, another set of tests should be considered.
Surgical Treatment Options for Heel Pain
Surgery for heel pain depends on the exact condition that is causing the heel pain. However, the majority of cases will be treated non-surgically. If surgery is needed, our physician have advanced techniques to help you recover more quickly.
Recovery Following Heel Surgery
It is essential that patients follow the post-operative protocol for recovery as set forth by our physicians as it remains a crucial part of the heeling process. Depending on the severity of the injury and the exact surgery performed, patients may resume normal activities within 6-8 weeks.