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Heel Pain

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Pain in your heel may have several sources.

Marshfield Clinic Orthopedic Surgeons diagnose the source of your heel pain and recommend the best treatments.

Your heel is the back part of your foot. A band of tissue called the plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the bones in the ball of your foot. Nerves run from the heel up the inside of your ankle and into your leg. When you feel pain in the bottom of your heel, the plantar fascia may be inflamed. Overuse, Achilles tightness, or excess body weight can cause the tissue to tear or pull away from the bone. Sometimes the inflamed plantar fascia also irritates a nerve, causing more pain.

Bottom view of the foot showing bones and the plantar fascia with plantar fasciitis.

What causes heel pain?

Wearing shoes with poor cushioning can irritate the tissue in your heel (plantar fascia). Being overweight or standing for long periods can also irritate the tissue. Running, walking, tennis, and other sports that put stress on the heels can cause tiny tears in the tissue. If your lower leg muscles are tight, this is more likely to occur. A tight Achilles tendon will also contribute to heel pain.

Symptoms

You may feel pain on the bottom or on the inside edge of your heel. The pain may be sharp when you get out of bed or when you stand up after sitting for a while. You may feel a dull ache in your heel after you’ve been standing for a long time on a hard surface. Running can also cause a dull ache.

Preventing future problems

To prevent future heel pain, wear shoes with well-cushioned heels. And do exercises prescribed by your healthcare provider to stretch the plantar fascia and the muscles in the lower leg.

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Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

How Much Do You Know About Foot Health?

Most people would agree that it's no small problem when their feet ache. Yet few other parts of the body are more neglected in terms of basic personal care. And major foot problems and chronic pain often go ignored. Learning about foot care can help you recognize when to see a healthcare provider for treatment.

1. You should inspect your feet regularly.
2. Trim your toenails to follow the curve of your toe.
3. For people who don't have circulation problems, it's safe to use over-the-counter remedies for foot ailments such as corns or warts.
4. Having a pedicure can treat foot problems.
5. You shouldn't wear the same pair of shoes for two or more days in a row.
6. High heels frequently cause foot problems in women.
7. Years of wearing narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together can cause bunions.