Why Does Your Foot Hurt? Faqs About Heel Pain Relief

17 September 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Does heel pain get in the way of your normal activities? You don't have to live with daily discomfort. Take a look at what you need to know about this common podiatric problem, the potential causes, and ways to find heel pain relief. 

What Can Cause Heel Pain?

Before you choose a heel pain treatment, you need to know the cause of the discomfort. Only a qualified healthcare provider should diagnose heel or other foot conditions. A podiatrist, or foot specialist, is the go-to choice for people with heel problems and similar types of pain. The top heel-related issues the podiatrist will look for include:

  • Plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia connects the heel to the toes. Inflammation in this area can cause heel pain—especially when you take the first steps of the day. 

  • Heel spurs. This bony growth protrudes from the heel and can cause discomfort. Joggers and people who wear poorly fitted shoes may suffer from this common issue.

  • Achilles tendinitis. Inflammation in the Achilles tendon can also cause heel pain. Over time, the fibers of this tendon can stretch or even tear. The result is heel pain and (for some people) a heel spur. 

  • Bursitis. This type of inflammation issue affects the bursa (fluid-filled sac around the joints) and may seem or feel like heel spur pain.

  • Strain, sprain, or another injury. An injury to the foot can also result in heel discomfort or pain. Injuries may also cause swelling, redness, bleeding, or bruising in the area.

After a podiatrist examines your foot, takes a medical history, and reviews imaging tests (if needed), they can diagnose the cause of the heel pain and create a treatment plan that matches your needs.

What Are the Common Heel Pain Relief Options?

Again, the specific type of treatment the podiatrist chooses depends on the diagnosis. Common types of pain treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to manage pain and reduce swelling for many types of heel pain, including plantar fasciitis, strains, sprains, and other heel/foot injuries.

  • Injectable medications. The doctor may need to inject the area with a cortisone (steroid) shot to relieve the pain.

  • Orthotic devices. An OTC or custom-fit orthotic can relieve heel pressure and pain in people with plantar fasciitis and other common foot issues.

  • Physical therapy. This type of therapy can help your tendon and ligament damage and other foot injuries to heal.

Some heel pain treatments may require surgery. This is typically a last-choice treatment and is used when medications, injections, and physical therapy fail to stop the pain.

For more information, contact a local foot clinic, like Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists.