Understanding Heel Pain


Heel pain, or heel spur syndrome as some refer to it, is often described by my patients as pain that is terrible in the morning when they first get out of bed.  It will typically get better after the first 5-6 steps and may even go away until the end of the day.  It may appear after you have been on your feet working for a while then you sit down. When you get back up, you can’t walk.  People will describe a sharp, stabbing, aching, sore and sometimes electrical shooting pain in the heel or arch.  The pain can be bothersome or severe.  It will usually not get better with ignoring it.

In order to properly diagnose your pain an exam is needed.  However, I have various web pages with conditions that are the most common I see listed below.  There are also some basic treatments you may try before calling a podiatrist.  I typically recommend good supportive shoes, stretching and anti-inflammatory medication for most conditions that cause heel pain.

In the office your exam will include things such as x-rays, ultrasound, gait evaluation, physical exam and lots of questions.  A complete exam is needed to understand the exact nature of your pain, get an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment plan.  Some of the causes of heel pain include: plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, tendonitis, bone tumor, arthritis, fracture, contusion, bone bruise, among others.  The most common cause is plantar fasciitis.

Heel pain on the bottom of the foot is most often caused by plantar fasciitis– also called “heel spur syndrome”.


Heel pain on the back of the heel is most commonly caused by Achilles Tendonitis.


Please click on the conditions below to see if that sounds like what you are experiencing.  Remember that it is important to have your heel pain properly diagnosed in order to distinguish between all the possibilities and determine the underlying source of your heel pain.  With a proper diagnosis most heel pain can be effectively treated.  Please see our page on treatment options to learn what we do in the office to treat different conditions that cause heel pain.

Heel Pain on the Bottom of the Foot

Heel Pain on the Back of the Heel

What shoes do we recommend?  A common question I am asked.  I do not recommend a specific shoe.  I would rather teach you how to evaluate a shoe so you may find one with good support.  Please see my YouYube video on shoe selection.

To learn more or schedule an appointment contact the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle office at 615-220-8788 or at our toll-free number 888-713-0906.  We have offices in Nashville, Smyrna, Brentwood, Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, Waverly and Hermitage, TN.  For information on other foot-related issues you can visit the practice website at www.neufoot.com.

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