Reasons for Pain in the Heel of the Foot [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment!]
Reasons for Pain in the Heel of the Foot 90% of the time is either plantar fasciitis, a plantar fibroma or insertional achilles tendinitis. Stop if FAST!
- One of the top causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is damage to a ligament that holds your heel to your toes.
- Another root cause of heel pain has flat feet.
- There are also photos of heel spurs that can occur to the bottom of your heel (plantar fascia insertion) and the back of your heel (Achilles tendon insertion).
- Baxter’s nerve entrapment can also happen at the bottom of the heel.
- An underlying cause is an overpronated flatfoot or an over a supinated high arched foot.
- A plantar fibroma is a thick nodule that can occur within your plantar fascia ligament and contribute to plantar fasciitis.
- This can lead to the formation of a heel stress fracture( AKA calcaneus stress fracture.)
Please click on the gallery for a guided tour through heel pain conditions!
Heel Pain Overview:
- The reasons for pain in the heel of the foot are usually at the bottom of the heel and it usually presents as foot pain in the morning in the bottom of the foot.
- It is common to have pain anywhere from the arch all the way to the back where the Achilles tendon attaches.
- So start treating your heel pain now!
The most common symptoms of plaintiff fasciitis include:
- Pain in the morning when you wake up.
- Delayed onset muscle soreness after resting for a long period of time.
- Pain after getting up and moving while sitting on the couch.
- Pain while driving in the heel.
- Worsening pain as you stand during the day on hard surfaces.
- Worsening pain while standing barefoot.
- Worsening pain with unsupportive shoes.
- Numbness burning and tingling in the heel.
- Sore achy throbbing in the heel that gets worse while standing during the day.
Reasons for Pain in the Heel of the Foot:
- The most common cause of heel pain is a condition know as plantar fasciitis.
- This is a condition which arises from overuse and inflammation of the ligaments of the arch.
- These ligaments run as essential a continuation of the Achilles tendon along the heel to the bottom of the toes.
- These ligaments make sure that your foot can push off the ground.
Heel Pain is the Most Common Type of Foot Pain:
- As a Podiatrist, heel pain is the most common cause of pain that I see on a daily basis.
- It is reported by some studies that up to 15% of the American population is suffering or at one time was suffering from plantar fasciitis.
- So don’t despair, it’s not only you who is suffering from this disorder.
Most Likely Causes:
- Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of your foot.
- This is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It can be associated with a heel spur sometimes.
- This can be a very debilitating problem.
- This is when the plantar fasciitis gets so bad that you actually start to develop lumps or bumps in the bottom of your foot.
- This is something that is usually not cancerous.
- Watch this video for more details.
- Another name for the heel bone is called the calcaneus.
- This is a bone that holds the insertion for both Achilles tendon in the plantar fascia ligaments.
- A reasonable way to tell if you have a calcaneal stress fracture is to perform a calcaneal heel stress test by squeezing the calcaneus.
- Squeezing the calcaneus from side to side is more likely to cause pain then planer fasciitis which occurs from the bottom, or the Achilles tendon insertion which occurs from the back and from the Achilles tendon.
- This can be a more serious problem than the ligamentous injuries. Although it’s not ideal to have any of these.
- This is called insertional Achilles tendinitis.
- This can lead to a heel spur at the back of the heel.
- If this is above the heal, this can be mid substance Achilles tendinitis.
These are less common causes of heel pain.
Best Heel Pain Products:
- There are usually two phases to treating plantar fasciitis pain.
- The two phases of treatment include controlling the acute inflammation, and correcting the biomechanics which led to the problem in the first place.
- If the tendons and ligaments are inflamed, they are almost frozen in place and cannot function properly.
- Once the inflammation is decreased, we need to correct the bio-mechanical causes to ensure that they can never become over worked and inflamed again!
- This doesn’t matter whether it’s plantar fasciitis, plantar fibroma, sore bottom of foot, or even Achilles tendon pain. Treatment is all roughly very similar.
Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis Inflammation:
Massage & Ice Products:
- Ice is the an excellent option that can be safe for almost everyone.
- There is some debate whether icing is worth doing, but for chronic pain this can help limit the need for medications and keep your options open.
- This works great for your arch, less for the ball of the foot.
- The more muscle and ligament tissue there is, the better ice will work there.
Menthol Based Gels:
- Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
- These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.
- This works great for the ball of the foot.
- This can be very effective for bottom of the heel and Achilles tendon sore regions.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This allows less tightness and pressure on the ball of your foot.
- This is very effective for the arch, the gastrocnemius or calf muscle and for the hamstring and thigh muscles.
- This also works very well for the gluteus muscles if you are having butt cheek or hip pain.
Remove the Plantar Fascia or Achilles Tendon Stress:
- The key is to prevent future pain.
- This means keeping you active while keeping stress off of your plantar fascia tendon. This will prevent future re-injury and development of plantar fasciitis.
- If you can get rid of the pain and swelling, this will let you start walking normally.
- If you can walk normally, the vast majority of your pain should gradually start to go away.
- The best way to ensure that your plantar fascia, foot and ankle ligaments are not overworked is to support them.
- The best way to support them is to use great orthotics and great shoes.
- Some people may also need to rely on supportive ankle braces and other supportive modalities.
The Best Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis Shoes:
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from the heel and plantar fascia region.
- This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis, heel spur pain or Achilles tendonitis.
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Best Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis Orthotics:
- These are our recommended orthotics for plantar fasciitis.
- Custom orthotics can work very well, but they should not be a first line of treatment.
- There are different types for different shoes.
- Women’s shoes usually need a less bulky orthotic, but allow for less correction.
- A full length orthotic requires a running shoe, boot or comfortable walking/dress shoe.
- We recommend doing everything you can to get a good supportive shoe that can fit a full length orthotic.
- This is the best way to maximize your orthotics for great results.
Best Full Length Orthotics:
- These will only work in wider shoes or a good supportive running shoe.
- This will not work in sandals, flats or most women’s dress shoes.
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
- These are a great choice for dress orthotics.
Best 3/4 Length Orthotics:
- These are great options for women’s dress shoes and thinner shoes.
- These are not the most supportive pair of orthotics.
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Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:
- It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!
- This will take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- We personally prefer this method of stretching.
Get A Great Static Stretch:
- These devices are great for stretching while you are resting.
- This will also help take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- This works great for plantar fasciitis.
- It can be used while watching TV or at night time.
Best Heel Compression Brace:
- A good compression brace can stabilize your foot from turning outward.
- This prevents your foot from pronated.
- Pronated foot will turn your foot outward in your foot will rub on the outside of the shoe.
- For many of her patients this has solved their pain and is very comfortable to wear inside your shoe.
- This solves both pain and outward pronation for a relatively low cost.
Best Heel Stability Brace:
- Stability brace goes little bit further than the compression brace to stop your foot from turning out.
- This takes pressure off of your heel and plantar fascia.
- At the same time this is a little bit bulkier and does not affect every shoe.
- We find people are little bit happier trying the compression brace before the stability brace.
- If you think you might have a broken heel, a calcaneal stress fracture or something of similar severity, these products might help!
- Always remember to see a foot and ankle specialist like a podiatrist if you are having plantar fasciitis or more severe pain!
Plantar Fascia Tear, Broken Heel Bone, Achilles Tendon Tear:
- If you have a traumatic injury such as a torn plantar fascia ligament, calcaneus stress fracture, heel fracture or insertional Achilles tendon injury: consider protecting your foot!
- The best way to do this is of course to see your podiatrist and get evaluated with an x-ray, ultrasound and potentially even an MRI or CT scan.
- If you are unable to do so it may benefit you to be in a cast, fractured boot, or even keep the weight off of it with a rolling knee scooter or other protective devices.
- We as podiatrists frequently take patients off work for very long period of time when they suffer a traumatic injury, unfortunately there is no other way around us in labor jobs.
- If you have a sit down job there are ways to get people back to work quicker, but this can be very difficult otherwise.
Heel Injury Boot Treatment:
- There are pros and cons to using a boot to treat your heel injury. If you are immobilized too long the cons are that you will gradually become stiff and overworked to your other leg. The Pros are that you injured heel will hopefully have a chance to gradually heal!
- Our favorite fracture boots and their supplies:
Offloading and Scooter treatment:
- These are favorite knee scooters and walking devices: