Common Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain can strike seemingly out of nowhere, and when it does, it’s normal to want answers. Because your feet have the responsibility of bearing your weight and keeping your body balanced as you move, your ankles and feet are susceptible to a range of injuries and chronic problems. 

Podiatry specialist Dr. Maurice W. Aiken, is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon here at Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists. Dr. Aiken routinely diagnoses and treats heel pain and can create a customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain and restore mobility. 

Common heel pain culprits

If you’re having heel pain that doesn’t resolve on its own, a visit with a foot and ankle specialist can help you get the answers and treatment you need. Dr. Aiken is trained to spot the signs of a full range of conditions that affect the feet and ankles. While bodywide conditions, such as autoimmune arthritis can cause heel pain, it’s most often a localized issue. Some of the common heel pain 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.”

Bony growths

Bone spurs, also called heel spurs, are calcium deposits that form as a result of repeated strain, or persistent inflammation. These bony growths can vary in size, and when they develop on the heel, they can cause significant heel pain.

Fractures

Not only stress fractures from overuse but also injury from a high-impact blow, such as falling from a significant height, can cause a heel fracture. You might also fracture your heel bone with a sudden and severe twist of your ankle, such as what may happen during a sports injury. 

Achilles tendinitis

Your Achilles tendon is the thickest in your body. It connects your calf muscles to your feet and plays a crucial role in the ability to point and flex your foot. With each step you take, the Achilles tendon is at work. Repetitive strain can cause inflammation of the Achilles tendon. 

Twisted ligament

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

When to see a foot and ankle specialist

In many cases, heel pain will resolve on its own. Never ignore persistent heel pain. You should visit a doctor for heel pain that lasts longer than a few weeks despite self-care strategies, such as rest and ice. 

Managing heel pain

Here at Bay Breeze Foot & Ankle Specialists, Dr. Aiken starts with a comprehensive evaluation of your foot and discusses your symptoms. Dr. Aiken may order appropriate imaging tests, such as X-rays, to help identify the problem. Depending on your specific needs, Dr. Aiken might recommend any of the following treatments:

If you have persistent heel pain, we can help. To get started, call 727-285-9684 to schedule a visit with Dr. Aiken or book your appointment online today.

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