Why Your Heel Hurts

Heel PainAre you sick of dealing with tough pain, aching, and fatigue in your heels? Trust us on this one, friend—you’re not alone. Just about every day, at least one person walks through our doors with these kinds of symptoms. But what causes it? Why do your heels hurt so badly?

Any discussion about the causes of heel pain must begin with plantar fasciitis. Although it isn’t the only possible explanation, it’s easily the most common. Plantar fasciitis is the unfortunate result of excess wear, tear, and tension on the plantar fascia tissue, which connects the heel bone to the toes. Ordinarily, this tissue is supposed to flex gently in order to dampen the impacts and forces of standing, but when the tension becomes too great it can tear and degenerate. A number of underlying factors can contribute, including active hobbies or vocations, increasing intensity of workouts too quickly, unsupportive footwear, or even natural faults in the structure of your feet.

The “classic” symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the early morning or after a long rest. The first few steps may be greeted with a sharp, stabbing sensation in the bottom of the heel, before dulling after a few more minutes of walking and stretching.

However, plantar fasciitis is not the only possible culprit, even when it comes to bottom-of-the-heel pain. For example, if the stress and tension on your heels has been great enough, you may have even suffered a stress fracture of the heel bone itself. If you experience pain when grabbing each side of the heel and squeezing gently, stress fractures may become a prime suspect.

Another possibility? Nerve issues. Nerves have to run through tight spaces along the inside of the foot and ankle, including past several ligaments. For a variety of reasons—repetitive motions, inflammation, etc.—those ligaments might get a little too tight and squeeze on the nerves like a rubber band, causing pain in the heel. Tapping on the compressed nerve might cause a tingling sensation that radiates either down into the foot or up into the lower leg.

Since heel pain can be caused by so many different factors and conditions, it’s extremely important to get your heel pain examined and diagnosed by a professional like Harvey Danciger, DPM. Our experienced team will get right to the root of your pain, and can even offer advanced treatment options like laser therapy to help you overcome it. To get started, please fill out an appointment request form online, or gives us a call at (760) 568-0108.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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