Many conditions cause heel pain and problems. Below we highlight a few of the most common conditions that we see and treat.
Achilles tendonitis is a common inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Most often the pain is experienced on the tendon, but sometimes due to tears in the tendon or calcium deposits, pain is experienced at the point where the tendon is attached to the heel bone.
A heel spur is a hook shaped growth of bone that extends from the heel bone. Heel spurs occur when calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone over a period of a few months. While most heel spurs are painless, if they extend into the plantar fascia, it will cause inflammation and chronic stabbing pain.
This is a condition that is found in active children that results from inflammation of the growth plates in the heel bone. In adolescence, the heel bone sometimes grows faster than the surrounding muscles and tendons causing tightness and overstretching. Over time, repetitive motions, such as running, causes the tight tendons to damage the growth plate.
Heel Bumps (Haglund’s Deformity)
Haglund’s Deformity is a painful bump on the back of the heel bone that can be painful when wearing tight shoes. The bump may also form a fluid filled sac called a burs which can become inflamed. This condition is usually hereditary and structural in origin. Other factors such as weight gain, improper shoes, or injury may also cause the bump to form.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve is compressed within the tarsal tunnel. This condition often causes numbness in the bottom of the foot, as well as pain, burning, and tingling over the base of the foot and heel.
A bursa is a small sac of fluid that lies between a tendon and a bone. When a bursa becomes inflamed, it is called bursitis. Heel bursitis is usually caused by overuse of the foot or repeated stress on the heel bone from shoes that are too tight.
Stress Fractures of the Heel Bone
As with other stress fractures, overuse causes stress fractures in the heel bone. It is common for runners or people who do a lot of jumping. These fractures can also occur from a sudden force to the heel such as landing on the heel from a height. This injury is most often painful when standing and other weight bearing activities.