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What Are The Common Causes Of Heel Pain?

The foot and ankle are composed of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 tendons. The heel bone is the largest in your foot.

You may experience heel pain if you overuse or injure your heel. This can range from mild to severe. If simple home remedies do not relieve your pain, you may need to consult a doctor or podiatrist.


There are several common causes of heel pain:


  • Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain in the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia is a thick, web-like ligament that connects the heel to the front of the foot. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot, allowing you to walk more comfortably.

One of the most common orthopedic complaints is plantar fasciitis. Your plantar fascia ligaments are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear on a daily basis. Too much pressure on your feet can cause ligament damage or tear. The plantar fascia becomes inflamed, resulting in heel pain and stiffness.


  • Sprains and strains

A sprain is caused by the stretching or tearing of ligaments, which are the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones in your joints. Ankle sprains are the most common type of sprain.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are used as initial treatments. Mild sprains can be treated successfully at home. Severe sprains may necessitate surgery to repair torn ligaments.

A sprain differs from a strain in that a sprain involves an injury to the bands of tissue that connect two bones together, whereas a strain involves an injury to a muscle or the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone.


  • Fracture

A fracture is a break, most commonly in a bone. An open or compound fracture occurs when a broken bone punctures the skin. Fractures are commonly caused by car accidents, falls, or sports injuries. Low bone density and osteoporosis are two other causes of bone weakness. Stress fractures, which are very small cracks in the bone, can be caused by overuse.


  • Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury to the Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon, which connects the calf muscles at the back of your lower leg to your heel bone.

Achilles tendinitis is most common in runners who have increased the intensity or duration of their runs suddenly. It's also common in middle-aged people who only participate in weekend sports like tennis or basketball.

Most cases of Achilles tendinitis can be treated at home with relatively simple home care under the supervision of your doctor. To avoid recurring episodes, self-care strategies are usually required. More severe cases of Achilles tendinitis can result in tendon tears (ruptures), which may necessitate surgery.


  • Bursitis

Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the bursae (bur-SEE), which are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. Bursitis develops when the bursae become inflamed.

Bursitis is most commonly found in the shoulder, elbow, and hip. Bursitis can also affect your knee, heel, and the base of your big toe. Bursitis is frequently found near joints that are subjected to repetitive motion.

Resting the affected joint and protecting it from further trauma are common treatments. Bursitis pain usually goes away in a few weeks with proper treatment, but recurrent bursitis flare-ups are common.

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  • Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a rare form of arthritis that causes back pain and stiffness. This chronic condition, also known as Bechterew disease, typically begins in the lower back. It has the potential to spread to your neck or damage joints in other parts of your body.

The term "Ankylosis" refers to the formation of fused bones or other hard tissue. The term "spondylitis" refers to inflammation of the spinal bones, or vertebrae. Severe cases can cause your spine to hunch.

There is no cure for AS. However, medication and exercise can help alleviate pain and strengthen your back.


  • Osteochondroses

Osteochondrosis is a group of disorders that affect bone growth in children and adolescents. The disruption of blood flow to the joints is frequently the cause.

Though certain diseases in this family can affect older adults, they are more likely to affect children and teenagers whose bones are still growing.

Osteochondroses can cause pain and disability.


  • Reactive arthritis

Reactive arthritis is joint pain and swelling caused by an infection in another part of your body, most commonly your intestines, genitals, or urinary tract.

Reactive arthritis usually affects your knees, ankles, and feet. Inflammation can also affect your eyes, skin, and urethra.

Previously, reactive arthritis was known as Reiter's syndrome, which was characterized by eye, urethral, and joint inflammation.

Reactive arthritis is uncommon. Most people's signs and symptoms come and go, eventually disappearing within a year.

Remember, The 3 Arches of Your Feet Still Need Support!

Maybe you have already felt the first symptoms of balance disorders or you want to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Consider getting a foot orthotic device or simply take care of your feet. Start by washing them thoroughly with a gentle soap whenever you take a shower. Being a very complex support system, your feet are your first line of defense against balance-related issues, since their arches provide you with the stability you need in your daily life. It’s time to put your foot down and push back against balance issues. With both feet on the ground, dedicate yourself to keeping them comfortable and healthy. Give us a call and we will scan your feet to make you custom orthotic inserts.


The Shoe Doctor has specialized in providing custom orthotics for 20 years. The right orthotic insoles can greatly reduce foot, knee and hip pain while increasing performance and comfort. Russell at The Shoe Doctor will help educate and assist you in finding the perfect solution for your particular situation. We will create a 3D map of your feet and make custom orthotics for your hiking boots, everyday shoes, and everything else in between. These orthotics, along with our expert advice, will get you using orthotics like a pro, and have you performing at the peak of your abilities in no time!  If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, give The Shoe Doctor a call to get the best custom orthotics in the area! We are here to assist you, schedule your free consultation here!