Heel Pain : A Deeper Understanding


The heel is the largest bone in the foot. If you injure or overuse your heel, you might experience heel pain and the pain can range from mild to disabling.


Common Causes of Heel Pain

There are a number of cases that are associated with the overuse of the heel bone. You can strain your heel by wearing shoes that do not fit, being overweight, or by pounding your feet on hard surfaces. Strains like these can irritate the heel’s bones, tendons, or muscles.


Other common causes of heel pain include the following foot conditions:


Heel Spurs

This foot condition develops when the lining that covers the heel is stretched continuously. When this happens, pieces of the lining might break off. Heel spurs typically develop in people who frequently jog or run like athletes as well as in people who are obese.


Excessive Pronation

This is a condition wherein the foot rolls inward, towards the arch, and the tendons and ligaments at the back of the heel are stretched too much. This might occur when injuries to the hips, back, or knees change the way one walks.


Plantar Fasciitis

This foot condition develops when the tendinous tissue that connects the heel to the ball of the foot becomes inflamed. It can also occur in athletes who frequently jog or run. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly can also lead to plantar fasciitis.


Achilles Tendinitis

This foot condition can result from inflammation of the Achilles tendon – the tendon which runs along the back of the heel. This foot condition is common in people who have active lifestyles, professional athletes, as well as frequent dancers.


When to Contact Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM

If you develop heel pain, you can first try some remedies such as resting to ease your symptoms. If, however, your heel pain does not get better in two to three weeks’ time, you should make an appointment with Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM.


Call him if:

  • The pain is severe and starts suddenly.
  • You have redness and/or swelling in your heel.
  • Walking becomes too difficult because of the heel pain.


How the Pain can be Healed

You can try some of these home methods to ease your discomfort should you develop heel pain:

  • Rest as much as you can.
  • Apply ice to the affected heel for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this twice a day.
  • Wear shoes that fit you properly.
  • Wear a special device such as a night splint that stretches the foot as you sleep.
  • Use shoe inserts or heel lifts to reduce pain.

If the aforementioned home care strategies do not ease your pain, you need to see Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM at the soonest possible time.