5 Reasons Behind Chronic Heel Pain

Your heels support your body weight and play a key role in your mobility. When you have heel pain that doesn’t go away, you may have an underlying injury or condition that requires medical attention.


At Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy and Highland, Utah, our double board-certified podiatrist Scott Shelton, DPM, offers diagnostic evaluations to identify the cause of your heel pain. Dr. Shelton also specializes in conservative therapies and surgical treatments, which can ease pain and improve mobility.


5 potential causes of heel pain


Your heel sits at the bottom-rear part of your foot and centers on your calcaneus, or heel bone. Two muscles alongside your heel bone are responsible for moving your big toe and your pinky toe.


Your heel is susceptible to injury or degenerative diseases, especially as you get older. Some of the painful heel conditions Dr. Shelton diagnoses and treats include:


1. Plantar fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis describes inflammation and irritation in the plantar fascia, the strong band of tissue that connects your toes to your heel.


When you overuse your feet for sports and other high-impact activities, you can stretch or tear the plantar fascia and experience persistent heel pain and difficulties walking.


2. Bursitis


Bursitis is a condition that results from swelling in the bursa, fluid-filled sacs located at the back of your heel bone. The sacs act as a cushion and absorb the shock of your movements. They also provide lubrication for the muscles and tendons that slide over your heel bone.


Your risk for heel bursitis increases if you run or participate in intense workouts, even more so if you do not warm up properly beforehand.


3. Achilles tendonitis


Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that develops when your Achilles tendon is inflamed or tears. This tendon connects your calf muscles at the back of your leg to your heel bone.


Running, climbing stairs, and participating in sports can cause Achilles tendonitis. In addition to heel pain, the condition can cause muscle pain and stiffness at the back of your leg.


4. Fractures


Heel fractures can result from falls, car accidents, and other traumatic events. You can also develop stress fractures in your heel if you participate in sports, have weight challenges, or have osteoporosis.


Some fractures can heal on their own with rest and physical therapy. However, moderate to severe fractures in your heel bone may require surgery to repair the broken bone.


5. Osteochondrosis


Osteochondrosis describes a group of disorders that affect the growth of your skeletal system during childhood. You or your child may be at risk for the condition due to certain genetic factors, chronic diseases, or injuries that interfere with the growth of bones.


Children with osteochondrosis may complain about heel pain starting around 10-12 years old, especially if they play sports due to persistent inflammation in their growth plates.


Customized solutions available for heel pain


If you have heel pain from any of these conditions, Dr. Shelton can create a treatment plan to relieve pain and protect your heel bone from further damage. He offers conservative treatments like custom orthotics, referrals for physical therapy, and medications.


When nonsurgical strategies alone don’t treat the cause of your heel pain, Dr. Shelton can discuss your options for foot surgery.


Call the Alpine Foot & Ankle office near you to schedule a diagnostic evaluation of heel pain or book a consultation online today.


If you do not see your insurance provider, contact our office.



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