What Causes Heel Pain?

Trust me, it is one of those conditions that we hear all of the time, “Doc, my feet hurt when I wake up in the morning.” “It feels like my feet are burning and stinging!” Heel pain can be very difficult to deal with and can have various causes and pain. Sadly, if this pain is ignored it can worsen and potentially develop into a chronic condition. Different causes for heel pain can include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, Tarsal tunnel syndrome, nerve disorders, heel spurs, and more. 

Treatment for heel pain will depend on the specific condition causing it. Options can vary between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, orthotics or surgery.

So, what are the causes of heel pain?

  • Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

  • Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

  • Heel spurs are when the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress.  It can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes

  • Wearing non-supportive shoes

  • Weight change

  • Excessive running


Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

Michael A. Schreck, DPM, FACFAS


James Martin