What are the Primary Causes of Heel Pain?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The most common causes of heel pain include injuries resulting from direct trauma, and plantar fasciitis. Fractures commonly occur in the heel, especially among athletes and people who participate regularly in physical activity. A small fracture in the bone can cause pain in the heel as well as the rest of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tissue surrounding the heel bone, as well as the tissue that forms the arch in a foot, becomes inflamed. The pain that results is felt underneath the heel and the arch of the foot. As one of the most common causes of heel pain, plantar fasciitis occurs in people who spend significant amounts of time standing or walking.

Heel spurs can cause heel pain.
Heel spurs can cause heel pain.

Athletes are most susceptible to fractures as one of the causes of heel pain. Physical activity often leads to a significant amount of stress being placed on all regions of the foot, and when too much pressure is placed on the heel, the bone may fracture. Improper footwear may also contribute to the likelihood of fractures as one of the causes of heel pain, as inadequate support in the heel of the shoe may allow the heel of the foot to strike the ground with more force. Supportive footwear can help prevent fractures, especially among athletes.

Heel spurs are usually discovered through x-rays.
Heel spurs are usually discovered through x-rays.

Plantar fasciitis is perhaps the most common of the causes of heel pain, especially among the overweight. Excess pressure placed on the foot can lead to an inflammation of the tissues that make up the arch of the foot, and the pain is felt in the heel. This condition is common in people who stand for long periods of time, or among people who walk significant distances every day. It can affect the normal motion of the foot, thereby exacerbating the condition and spreading the pain to other areas of the foot and leg. Heel spurs may also contribute to plantar fasciitis, and very often the two conditions are closely related.

A heel spur is yet another of the causes of heel pain. Such a condition occurs when a hook of bone forms in the heel. This is usually discovered through an x-ray, and people who have a heel spur often have plantar fasciitis, and vice versa. Treatment for a heel spur is often similar to the treatment of plantar fasciitis, as the two are often related. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the spur and alleviate pain.

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    • Heel spurs can cause heel pain.
      Heel spurs can cause heel pain.
    • Heel spurs are usually discovered through x-rays.
      Heel spurs are usually discovered through x-rays.