What are the Most Common Causes of Foot Pain in the Heel?

Alex Paul
Alex Paul
Injuries to the Achilles tendon are a common cause of foot pain in the heel.
Injuries to the Achilles tendon are a common cause of foot pain in the heel.

There are many common causes of foot pain in the heel. Plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed, may cause pain around the heel region. Bone spurs may result in similar pain, and the two conditions are often confused. If the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, then this may cause discomfort down the back of the calf and the heel. Other common causes of foot pain in the heel include compressed nerves, stress fractures, and bursitis.

Stress fractures may cause foot pain in the heel.
Stress fractures may cause foot pain in the heel.

One of the most common causes of foot pain in the heel is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This involves inflammation of the bottom of the foot and can cause pain anywhere on the sole or heel. Pain from plantar fasciitis typically will get worse if a person spends a long time on his or her feet and will be especially unpleasant after waking up. This condition is difficult to treat because it is hard for a person to rest this part of the body.

Sometimes a small hook of bone will form near the heel. This is known as a bone spurs and thought to be one cause of foot pain in the heel. Bone spurs are often confused with plantar fasciitis because they are more common among those who already have inflammation of the foot. People who have plantar fasciitis for a long period of time are more likely to develop a spur.

The Achilles tendon is located at the back of the calf and attaches at the heel. If this tendon becomes inflamed, usually due to repetitive strain, it can cause pain just above the heel. Pain from this condition ranges from mild to severe and often gets worse after exercise. If the Achilles tendon ruptures, this will result in severe pain.

There is a large nerve in the heel which can cause pain if it becomes compressed. This is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Along with foot pain in the heel, the patient may also suffer from a burning sensation. Pain from this condition can occur in the heel or the foot.

A large number of other conditions can potentially cause foot pain in the heel. An athlete, for example, may suffer from a stress fracture which can cause pain. If the bursa in the heel region becomes inflamed due to overuse, this can also result in discomfort. Other potential causes include infections, direct impact to the heel, and arthritis.

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    • Injuries to the Achilles tendon are a common cause of foot pain in the heel.
      Injuries to the Achilles tendon are a common cause of foot pain in the heel.
    • Stress fractures may cause foot pain in the heel.
      Stress fractures may cause foot pain in the heel.