One of the most common causes of pain in the back of the heel is bruising. This condition can occur as a result of repetitive strain or through a direct blow to the heel. Achilles bursitis, which causes pain behind the Achilles tendon, is also common among athletes. Other potential causes of pain in the back of the heel include plantar fasciitis, a condition involving the tissue at the bottom of the foot, and blisters.
Bruising can often result in pain in the back of the heel. A bruised heel can be caused by a direct impact, such as during a contact sport, or through repetitive strain. This type of injury is common among soldiers, for example, because repeated marching sometimes damages the heel’s protective pad. It is also sometimes referred to as Policeman’s heel for the same reason. Resting a bruised heel is the best form of treatment, along with shock absorbing insoles and supportive footwear.
Achilles bursitis is also a common cause of pain in the back of the heel. A bursa is a small sack of fluid that lubricates tendons in joints. The bursa located between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone can cause pain if it becomes damaged or inflamed. This type of injury is usually the result of repetitive strain, and frequently affects runners, but it can be caused by a direct impact. Treatment for Achilles bursitis involves rest, cold therapy, and flexibility exercises.
Plantar fasciitis, a painful problem caused by damage to the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot, often results in heel pain. The condition usually causes pain at the bottom of the heel, but sometimes the discomfort can spread to the back of the heel. Planter fasciitis is relatively easy to diagnose compared to other causes of pain in the back of the heel because the individual's foot will be sore, painful to press on, and worse in the morning. Treatment involves rest and stretching of the plantar fascia.
There are a number of other potential causes of pain in the back of the heel. If, for example, a person has shoes that are too loose, blisters can occur. Pain in the back of the heel can be difficult to diagnose, however, because many conditions have similar symptoms. Someone suffering heel pain should always seek professional medical advice because treatment for the various causes of heel pain can vary greatly.