Heel pain is a common foot problem among our patients. Pain usually occurs under the heel or just behind it, where the Achilles tendon connects to the heel bone. Sometimes it can affect the side of the heel. Pain that occurs under the heel is known as plantar fasciitis. This is the most common cause of heel pain.
Pain behind the heel is Achilles tendinitis. Pain can also affect the inner or outer side of the heel and foot.
In most cases, the pain is not caused by an injury. At first, it is usually mild, but it can become severe and sometimes disabling. It usually disappears without treatment, but sometimes it can persist and become chronic.
Fast facts about heel pain
- Heel pain is usually felt either under the heel or just behind it.
- Pain typically starts gradually, with no injury to the affected area. It is often triggered by wearing a flat shoe.
- In most cases the pain is under the foot, towards the front of the heel.
- Home care such as rest, ice, proper-fitting footwear and foot supports are often enough to ease heel pain.
Inflammation can occur at the back of the heel, in the bursa, a fibrous sac full of fluid. (See Picture) It can result from landing awkwardly or hard on the heels or from pressure from footwear. Pain may be felt deep inside the heel or at the back of the heel. Sometimes, the Achilles tendon may swell. As the day progresses, the pain usually gets worse.
How do I know I have bursitis?
- Swelling at the back of the heel. Bursitis causes a bursa to fill with excess fluid.
- Stiffness. The swelling at the back of the heel may make it difficult to fully bend or straighten the ankle.
- Skin redness.
- Skin warmth.
- Fever or chills.
Is Walking Good For Heel Pain?
Depending on your specific circumstances, walking may help your heel pain, or make it worse. If you experience excruciating pain while walking, try to rest as much as possible.
How Physiotherapy Helps Relieve Heel Pain
- Physical therapy can teach exercises that stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and strengthen the lower leg muscles, resulting in better stabilization of the ankle and heel.
- Athletic taping gives the bottom of the foot better support.
- Orthotics, or assistive devices, and insoles can help correct foot faults and cushion and support the arch during the healing process
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre