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Common Causes of Heel Pain

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Heel pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and it's a common complaint that can affect people of all ages. The most common causes of heel pain include:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis: This is the most common cause of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed or strained. It often causes sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, especially in the morning when first placing your foot on the floor to walk.

  2. Achilles Tendinitis: The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. When this tendon is overloaded it can become inflamed and can be a common cause of heel pain

  3. Heel Spurs: These are bony growths that often develop on the underside of the heel bone. While heel spurs themselves may not be painful, they can irritate surrounding tissues, such as the plantar fascia or achilles tendon, leading to pain.

  4. Bursitis: Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa sacs, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate joints. Inflammation of the bursa sac near the heel can cause pain.

  5. Haglund's Deformity: This is a bony enlargement on the back of the heel that can rub against shoes and cause pain.

  6. Stress Fractures: Tiny cracks in the heel bone, often due to repetitive stress or overuse, can cause heel pain.

  7. Nerve Entrapment: Conditions like tarsal tunnel syndrome, where a nerve in the foot becomes compressed or entrapped, can lead to heel pain.

  8. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Inflammatory arthritis conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the joints in the foot, including the heel, leading to pain and swelling.

  9. Infections: In rare cases, infections, such as an abscess or cellulitis, can cause heel pain.

  10. Referred Pain: Sometimes, pain in the heel may be referred from another area of the body, such as the lower back or hip.

Seek Professional Guidance for Persistent or Severe Heel Pain

It's important to consult a physiotherapist or podiatrist if you experience persistent or severe heel pain as they will assist you in receiving an accurate diagnosis and put a plan in place to assist your recovery. As you can imagine heel pain can be complex as some conditions can present very similar

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