Heel Pain


Common Symptoms

  • Pain getting out of bed in the morning
  • Pain going from sitting to standing during the day
  • Pain at the end of the day
  • Shoes are not comfortable
  • Cannot walk barefoot without pain

Common Causes of Heel Pain

  • Heel Spurs
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Poorly fitting shoes
  • Tendonitis
  • Equinus (tight Achilles tendon)
  • Back problems (sciatica, prior back surgery)
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trauma (fracture, bruised heel)
  • Arthritis
  • Flat Feet
  • High arched feet (cavus foot)
  • PAD (poor circulation)

What should you do if your heels hurt

  • Change shoes-avoid flat flexible flimsy shoes, find a shoe with good support. (see our recommended shoe list)
  • Try an over the counter arch support but don’t spend more than $40 for one.
  • Avoid barefoot walking
  • Stretch your calf (see our stretching handout)
  • Give it a few days and call your podiatrist if you still have pain.

What to expect when you see your podiatrist the first visit for heel pain

  • You will be asked questions about when you experience the pain, your shoes, your job, what medications you take, what treatments you have tried that have or have not helped.
  • Xrays will be taken to evaluate for possible bone spurs or fractures.
  • You may need an ultrasound exam to evaluate ligaments, tendons and soft tissue swelling. This is done in the office.
  • In some cases a steroid injection will be recommended. Yes, they hurt, but it can be very effective.
  • Your doctor may recommend custom orthotics.
  • Sometimes a brace may be recommended.
  • A discussion on activities to avoid.
  • Sometimes physical therapy may be recommended.
You should expect a plan which will effectively treat your pain over a 2-6 week period of time. Rarely will severe heel pain be relieved with a simple treatment. You may need a couple visits to the office to get back to 100%.

Cracking of Skin on the Feet

Heel fissures is the term for cracking of the skin of the heels. This can be a painful condition that can cause bleeding. Open-backed sandals or shoes that allow more slippage around the heel while walking are often culprits that cause heel fissures. Skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can also lead to heel fissures. The skin thickens as a result of the friction. Wearing proper shoes and the use of deep skin moisturizers and lotions can reduce the dryness associated with the condition and allow the foot to heal.

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