Heel Pain Causes To Work Through With Your Orthopedist

When your heel hurts, it's hard to do much of anything. Even walking to the kitchen to make your morning coffee can cause you pain. It's important not to ignore heel pain, as it tends to become worse over time if not treated. What you should do is visit an orthopedic doctor and talk to them about the following possible causes of your heel pain.

Plantar Fasciitis

A long band of connective tissue runs along your arch, terminating at your heel bone. Known as the plantar fascia, this tissue is put under strain whenever you walk or run. It can become swollen and irritated over time, leading to heel pain that generally radiates down into the arch. Plantar fasciitis is common in runners and other athletes, but it can happen to anyone — especially people with flat feet and low arches. An orthopedic doctor can make custom orthotics for your shoes, give you exercises to ease this pain, and maybe even provide some cortisone injection to relieve pain and inflammation in your plantar fascia.

Stress Fractures

Does your heel pain seem to be isolated to a specific area? Have you recently spent more time on your feet than usual? Perhaps, for example, you recently trained for a marathon or backpacked hundreds of miles through the forest. This could have led to a stress fracture, which is a small fracture caused by repeated strain over time. The heel bone, or calcareous, is one bone that's prone to stress fractures. Your orthopedist may request x-rays to definitively diagnose a stress fracture. If you do have a fracture, they'll generally recommend wearing a protective boot and avoiding weight-bearing exercise for a few weeks so your heel bone can, well, heal.


At the back of your heel, there is a sac called a bursa. This sac is meant to provide cushioning for the surrounding tissues. Sometimes, however, it becomes inflamed, which leads to pain and discomfort. Bursitis pain often travels up the Achilles tendon, and it tends to be worst when you're walking and bending your foot. Since bursitis can point to a more serious underlying condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, your orthopedic doctor may want to do some additional testing after diagnosing you with this condition. Bursitis itself is generally treated with orthotics, physical therapy, and in rare cases, surgery. Any contributing underlying condition is likely to require additional care. 

Don't let heel pain continue to bother you. See an orthopedist sooner rather than later. They can get to the bottom of your pain and bring you relief.

For more information on heel pain, contact a doctor near you.