What’s Causing Your Heel Pain?

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Several conditions contribute to heel pain, plantar fasciitis being chief among them. Heel pain that’s strongest at the beginning of the day, eases up once you begin moving around, and comes back at the end of the day, is probably due to plantar fasciitis. But today, the expert podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland want to focus on other notable reasons for pain in the heel.

  1. Heel spurs can occur on their own or in conjunction with plantar fasciitis. A spur is an outgrowth of bone that arises as a result of recurring pressure. That might mean pressure from ill-fitting shoes or from repetitive actions such as running and jumping.
  2. Fat pad atrophy. The fat pad or protective padding surrounding the heel bone can deteriorate with age or weight gain.
  3. Stress fractures, tiny cracks in the bone, are often due to repetitive sports injuries.
  4. Tarsal tunnel syndrome. The posterior tibial nerve lies within a narrow tunnel along the inside of your ankle. If the nerve becomes compressed by lack of space, injury, arthritis, or other reasons, pain can extend down into your heel.
  5. Achilles tendonitis – inflammation of the largest tendon in the body that attaches the back of your heel to your calf muscle.
  6. Bursitis. A bursa is a tiny sac of fluid that provides cushioning between bones or between a bone and a tendon. We have a large bursa between our heel and Achilles tendon that can become irritated from overuse, tight shoes, or a sudden increase in your physical activity level.
  7. Arthritis. The protective cartilage between the calcaneus (the heel bone) and its surrounding foot and ankle bones can wear down over time, causing pain in the heel.

Treatments abound for all these types of heel pain, so it’s not necessary to try to live with it. Custom orthotic shoe inserts, braces, steroid injections, prescription-strength medications, and targeted exercises are just some of the ways we can help alleviate your pain. For expert care and treatment, make an appointment with Dr. Megan L. Oltmann or Dr. Craig B. Frey at our state-of-the-art podiatry office in Solon, Ohio to discuss your options. We invite residents of Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Geauga Counties to call us at (440) 903-1041 or click here to make an appointment online.