Heel Pain

Heel Pain


Heel pain and sore heels is generally the result of a biomechanical abnormality (mechanics of walking) which places too much stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues that attach to it. Heel pain may also result from injury, or a bruise incurred while walking, running, or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear; or being overweight.

The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot, which also has 33 joints and a network of more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Like all bones, it is subject to outside influences that can affect its integrity and its ability to keep us on our feet. Heel pain, sometimes disabling, can occur in the front, back, or bottom of the heel.

A common cause of heel pain is the heel spur, a bony growth on the underside of the heel bone. The spur, visible by X ray, appears as a protrusion that can extend forward as much as half an inch. When there is no indication of bone enlargement, the condition is sometimes referred to as “heel spur syndrome.”

Heel spurs result from strain on the muscles and ligaments of the foot, by stretching of the long band of tissue that connects the heel and the ball of the foot, and by repeated tearing away of the lining or membrane that covers the heel bone. These conditions may result from biomechanical imbalance, running or jogging, improperly fitted or excessively worn shoes, or obesity.

The heel spur is asymptomatic (not painful) the actual pain arises from plantar fascitis. Plantar fascitis involves inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a broad band of tissue that attaches the heel to the toes. Many people with plantar fascitis complain of pain on first rising and after rest. Causes of plantar fascitis include biomechical problems, inadequate flexibility in the calf muscles, lack of arch support, being overweight, suddenly increasing activity, and spending too much time on the feet. For those who are not overweight and not on their feet too much, stretching the calf muscles before walking anywhere in the morning is often the cure. Ice after activities is also very important. Arch supports such as insoles treat the underlying cause of the heel pain and prevent future occurrences of the condition.


  • A dull ache is felt most of the time with episodes of a sharp pain in the center of the
  • Heel or on the inside margin of the heel.
  • Often the pain is worse on first rising in the morning and after rest.
  • It may severely limit activities.
  • Aggravated by prolonged weight bearing & thin soled shoes.

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