Common Causes of Heel Pain and How to Avoid Them

Aug 7, 2023

Heel pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that affects many individuals, hindering their ability to perform daily activities comfortably. Whether it’s a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache, heel discomfort can significantly impact your quality of life. At Patel Podiatry Family Foot Care and Surgery, we understand the challenges heel pain presents and are dedicated to helping you find relief. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the common causes of heel pain and provide valuable insights on prevention and treatment options.

Where Does Heel Pain Come From?

The heel is a complex structure that bears the weight of our body with each step we take. Over time, this constant pressure can lead to various issues, causing heel pain. Understanding the root cause of your heel pain is essential in devising an effective treatment plan and preventing future complications.

What Are the Symptoms Associated with Heel Pain?

Heel pain can manifest in several ways, depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms include:

Sharp, Stabbing Pain

Often felt in the bottom of the heel or along the back of the foot.

Pain Worsens with Activity

Heel pain typically intensifies during walking, running, or standing for extended periods.

Pain in the Morning

Many individuals experience severe heel pain when taking their first steps after getting out of bed in the morning.

Swelling and Inflammation

The affected area may become red, swollen, and tender to the touch.

Limited Mobility: 

Heel pain can restrict movement, making it challenging to walk or engage in physical activities.

heel pain laying down

The Common Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain can arise from various conditions, injuries, or biomechanical issues. Let’s explore the most prevalent causes of heel pain:

 Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain and occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed or irritated. This condition is particularly common among runners, athletes, individuals with flat feet or high arches, and those who spend prolonged periods on their feet.

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon, located at the back of the ankle, can become inflamed due to overuse or sudden, intense physical activity. This condition is known as Achilles tendinitis and often causes pain at the back of the heel.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures, tiny cracks in the bones, can occur in the heel due to repetitive stress, overtraining, or improper footwear. Athletes and individuals who engage in high-impact activities are more susceptible to stress fractures.

Heel Bursitis

Heel bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that cushions the heel bone from excessive friction or pressure. It can result from repetitive activities that strain the bursa or from wearing poorly fitting shoes.

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are bony outgrowths that can form on the underside of the heel bone. They often develop in response to chronic inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis or other heel conditions.

Ways to Avoid These Issues and Heel Pain

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some effective ways to avoid heel pain and related conditions:

Proper Footwear

 Invest in supportive and well-fitted shoes that provide adequate arch support and cushioning for your feet. Avoid wearing worn-out or unsuitable footwear that may exacerbate heel pain.

Warm-Up and Stretch

Prior to engaging in physical activity, always warm up and stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon to reduce the risk of injury.

Gradual Increase in Activity

 If you’re starting a new exercise regimen, gradually increase the intensity and duration to give your feet time to adjust.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts additional pressure on your feet and can contribute to heel pain. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce strain on your heels.

Proper Foot Care

Regularly inspect your feet for any signs of discomfort, redness, or swelling. Treat minor issues promptly to prevent them from becoming more significant problems.

Orthotics and Inserts

 Custom orthotic inserts can provide additional support and help correct biomechanical issues contributing to heel pain.

 Low-Impact Exercises

 Incorporate low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling, into your fitness routine to reduce stress on your heels.

heel pain walking

Ways to Treat These Issues if They Do Arise

If you do experience heel pain, there are various treatment options available:


Give your feet ample time to rest and avoid activities that exacerbate the pain.


Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Stretching Exercises

Perform gentle stretching exercises to improve flexibility and alleviate tension in the affected area.

Physical Therapy

A qualified physical therapist can recommend specific exercises and treatments to aid in healing and prevent future occurrences.


Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can provide temporary relief from heel pain.

Night Splints

Wearing a night splint can help stretch the plantar fascia and alleviate morning heel pain.

Shockwave Therapy

 Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses shockwaves to stimulate healing in the affected tissues.

Corticosteroid Injections

In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief.

When Is It Time to Schedule an Appointment with Us?

If your heel pain persists despite home remedies and self-care measures, it’s essential to seek professional help. Schedule an appointment with Patel Podiatry Family Foot Care and Surgery if:

  1. The pain is severe and interferes with your daily activities.
  2. The heel pain is accompanied by redness, swelling, or fever.
  3. Home treatments are not providing relief, or the pain worsens over time.

Our experienced podiatrists will conduct a thorough examination, identify the root cause of your heel pain, and create a personalized treatment plan to address your specific needs. With advanced diagnostic tools and a compassionate approach, we are committed to helping you find long-lasting relief from heel pain.

Heel pain can be a persistent and uncomfortable issue, but with the right knowledge and proactive approach, it can often be effectively managed and even prevented. By understanding the common causes of heel pain, adopting preventive measures, and seeking timely professional care, you can ensure that your feet stay healthy and pain-free. At Patel Podiatry Family Foot Care and Surgery, we are here to support you in your journey to better foot health. Don’t let heel pain hold you back; take the first step toward relief by Contacting us today!

So there you have it! Five great hikes, all within a (figurative) stone’s throw of Hamden, CT. There are plenty of others to choose from, too, so once you’ve tried these it’s time to get out there and explore some more!

Of course, if you have serious foot pain, even the easiest of these trails might seem an impossible task. It might be hard enough just to get from the bedroom to the kitchen! But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re yearning for the foothills but can’t go because your foot kills, give us a call at 203-876-7736. We’ll be happy to put you back on the path!