Heel pain is common and can be due to a number of conditions. The heel bone is the first contact the foot to hit the ground when walking. When walking, your heels repeatedly hit the ground with considerable force. Then it is not surprising that heel pain is so common. When pain develops in the heel, it can be very disabling, making every step a problem, affecting your posture.
Signs and symptoms
Some of the types of problems that can be seen in the heel include:
These are small bony spurs that often develop on the bottom of the heel. The spur itself does not cause the pain, but pain may be associated with inflammation in the area. The pain is usually worst on standing, particularly first thing in the morning when you get up. There are no visible features on the heel but a tender patch can be found in or around the middle of the sole of the heel. Chronic inflammation may develop and, over time, lead to a bony growth or spur. The spur can only be seen on X-ray. The pain most associated with heel spurs is plantar fasciitis.
Pain can be felt at the back of the heel bone when the ankle joint is moved and there may be a swelling on both sides of the Achilles tendon (sometimes called Haglund’s); there could be problems with the insertion of the achilles tendon, such as tendonitis or calcification. Or you may feel pain deep inside the heel when it makes contact with the ground.
Recognised as firm bumps on the back of the heel, they are often rubbed by shoes causing pain.