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Heel Pain | Plantar Fasciitis | Heel Spur | Pediatric Heel Pain

Heel pain may be due to many conditions, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, damage to your achilles tendon, nerve irritation, Plantar Fasciitis or a heel spur.

heel pain

Because there are so many potential reasons for pain in your heel, having it properly diagnosed by a podiatrist is the only way an effective treatment plan can be established.

The Most Common Causes of Heel Pain

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

  • Pain on the bottom of the heel or in the arch
  • Pain in the heel that is usually worse upon arising
  • Pain that increases over time
  • Pain with first step in the morning or after rest
  • Pain decreases with activity

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is a faulty structure of the foot, such as having overly flat feet or high-arched feet. It may also be caused by overuse, such as wearing non-supportive footwear and playing on hard, flat surfaces for prolonged periods, which places unusual stress on the plantar fascia. Obesity may also contribute to plantar fasciitis.

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

  • Stretching exercises and physical therapy
  • Ice
  • Shoe modifications
  • Pain medications
  • Weight control (when appropriate)
  • Padding and strapping
  • In-shoe orthotic devices
  • Injection therapy to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Removable walking cast
  • Night splint (can be purchased at our online store)
  • Surgery if conservative treatments fail

Heel pain is also frequently caused by damage to the achilles tendon. Read about Achilles tendonitis.

 heel pain treatment

Make your next step pain free! Request our free download “The End Of Heel Pain” to better understand your foot pain.  You deserve to have the information needed to make an educated decision on your foot health.

 

Read more about Plantar Fasciitis

 

 

 

Pediatric Heel Pain

When a child has heel pain, it's a warning sign of a foot condition that requires attention.  Heel pain in children is often caused by an injury to the growth plate in the heel, called Calcaneal Apophysitis or Sever’s Disease. However, pediatric heel pain may be the sign of other problems as well, and can occur at younger or older ages. An early diagnosis  and treatment can avoid lifelong foot and ankle pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of pediatric heel pain

  • Pain in the back or bottom of the heel
  • Limping
  • Walking on the toes
  • Difficulty participating in normal activities or sports

 

Pediatric heel pain differs from adult heel pain. See our page on pediatric heel pain and footcare

 

Haglund's Deformity

Haglund’s deformity is a bony enlargement on the back of the heel that many times  leads to painful bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac between the tendon and bone). In Haglund’s deformity, the soft tissue near the Achilles tendon becomes irritated when the bony enlargement rubs against the hard backs of shoes - hence its nickname, "pump bump". In fact, the deformity is most common in young women who wear pump-style shoes.

Symptoms of Haglund's Deformity

  • A noticeable bump on the back of the heel
  • Pain in the area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel
  • Swelling and redness in the back of the heel

Causes of Haglund's Deformity

  • Heredity - you may inherit a type of foot structure that makes you prone to developing this condition
  • High arches can contribute to Haglund’s deformity. The Achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel bone, and in a person with high arches, the heel bone is tilted backward into the Achilles tendon. This causes the uppermost portion of the back of the heel bone to rub against the tendon. Eventually, due to this constant irritation, a bony protrusion develops and the bursa becomes inflamed. It is the inflamed bursa that produces the redness and swelling
  • Tight Achilles tendon, causing pain by compressing the tender and inflamed bursa. In contrast, a tendon that is more flexible results in less pressure against the painful bursa.

Treatment of Haglund's Deformity

The goal of any therapy for Haglund's Deformity is to reduce the inflammation of the bursa, which can usually be accomplished with a change in footwear or in-shoe orthotics. While this approach and others can resolve the bursitis, therapy will not shrink the boney protrusion.

  • Anti inflammatory pain medication
  • Ice
  • Stretching exercises and physical therapy to relieve tension from the Achilles tendon
  • Heel lifts
  • Heel Pads
  • Shoe Modifications
  • Orthotic devices to control motion in the foot, which can aggravate symptoms
  • Immobilization - in some cases, casting may be necessary to reduce symptoms
  • Surgery if necessary