Why does my heel hurt?

Heel pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that affects people of all ages and activity levels. It can occur suddenly or develop over time, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent reason for heel pain. This is because to irritation or inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that extends from your heel to your toes. Overuse, bad shoes, or aberrant foot mechanics can all lead to this.

Pain in the heel, especially first thing in the morning or after standing or sitting for lengthy periods of time, is a common symptom of plantar fasciitis.

These are the most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis:

  • pain in the heel that is worse in the morning and decreases with walking - difficulty walking on a painful foot,
  • increasing pain during physical activity,
  • rare occurrence of swelling,
  • feeling as if you have a thorn in your heel.

Plantar fasciitis treatment options include taking it easy, stretching, physical therapy, and possibly even custom orthotics.

Here are some other causes of plantar fasciitis:

  • prolonged pronation of the foot (rotation of the foot inwards)
  • lowered foot
  • sunken foot
  • heel valgus position
  • Achilles tendon tension
  • poor treatment of ankle sprains

All of the above can cause and increase pain in plantar fascitis.

Heel Spurs

Bony growths, known as heel spurs, can develop near the back of the heel. Repetitive stress on the heel can cause them, which is why they are commonly paired with plantar fasciitis.

Pain and discomfort in the heel, caused by a heel spur, is common when walking or standing for extended periods of time. Heel spurs can be treated with orthotics, physiotherapy, injections of cortisone, or even surgery in extreme situations.

Achilles Tendinitis

Your calf muscles are attached to your heel bone by the Achilles tendon, the biggest tendon in your body. Overuse or rapid changes in activity level are common causes of Achilles tendinitis, an inflammation and irritation of the tendon. Pain and stiffness in the heel or calf, especially first thing in the morning or after lengthy periods of inactivity, are classic signs of Achilles tendinitis. Medication, physical therapy, rest, and ice are all potential treatments.

Stress Fractures

Overuse and repetitive stress are common causes of stress fractures, which are tiny breaks in the bones of your foot.

Bones are loaded with various forces (compression, tension, etc.). A fracture occurs either because of a single strong force or with multiple repetitions of lesser forces. Bones have a great capacity for repair, however, when fatigue due to these numerous repetitions of smaller forces overcomes the ability of bones to repair, a fatigue fracture occurs. They are most common in runners and athletes, but everyone who spends a lot of time on their feet is at risk.

Pain and discomfort in the heel or foot, especially when walking or doing other weight-bearing activities, are classic signs of a stress fracture. Stress fractures can be treated with bed rest, casts, and a slow resumption to exercise.

Sever's Disease

Sever's disease is characterized by discomfort and soreness in the heel, especially during walking or running.

In children and adolescents, Sever's disease is a prevalent source of heel discomfort, typically between the ages of 8 and 14. It is caused by irritation and inflammation of the growth plate in the heel's back. It can occur when the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the base of the big toe, pulls excessively on the heel bone. The formation of a heel spur is usually painful. In the foot adapted to the heel spur, the pain is significantly less. Most heel spurs can be treated without surgery.

Physical therapy, cold packs, stretches, and rest may all be part of the treatment plan.


Inflammation of the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate joints, is known as bursitis. Pain and tenderness in the heel are common symptoms of inflamed bursae, and can be exacerbated by prolonged standing or walking.

Rest, ice, medicine, and physical therapy are all potential treatments for bursitis.

Back to blog