Why Does My Heel Hurt?

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Your heel bone is the largest bone in your foot. It can also be the biggest source of pain in your foot and one that can prevent you from standing, walking and doing normal, everyday activities. It can be tricky to track down the source of heel pain because of the many potential reasons for it. At NY Foot Health we recommend that you make an appointment with a podiatrist if you experience pain, swelling, heat or other signs of inflammation or discomfort severe enough to limit your daily activities. If you don’t see a podiatrist regularly, we can help you find a foot doctor in your area. Below are some of the many reasons for heel pain:

Injury—if you sustain a traumatic injury such as a blow to your heel or a fall, the cause of your heel pain will be obvious. However, some injuries occur slowly over time due to an excessive pounding from a repetitive activity or poorly constructed shoes that do not provide any cushion or shock absorption to the heel.

Faulty foot mechanics—a structural problem with your foot may cause you to alter your gait and place stress on the heel bone or soft tissue that is attached to it which results in pain. Sometimes the podiatrist may prescribe an orthotic device to redirect the foot into its correct position to eliminate heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis/heel spurs—a long ligament that extends along the bottom of your foot from the toes to the heel—known as the plantar fascia—can also be the source of heel pain. If the plantar fascia becomes inflamed (either through overuse, or another foot disorder, such as flat feet) it will cause pain in the heel. A telltale sign of plantar fascia is pain that is worse when you first step on your foot in the morning due to the plantar fascia tightening overnight.

Excess weight—being overweight or pregnant can also put an excessive amount of stress on your heel and arch and create heel pain.

Joint or soft tissue problems—osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, gout and bursitis are all painful conditions that can develop in the heel.

Heel pain that is not treated promptly can result in long-term disability and eventually cause pain in your knees, hips and back. To learn more, contact us.