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Hi. My name is Dr. John Fritz, and I’m going to talk to you a little bit about some common causes of heel pain. He’ll pain is one of the most common things I see in my practice. The location of pain is obviously one of the more important things.
Pain on the bottom of the foot is commonly caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is probably one of the most common things we see in the office. It’s an inflammation of the band that attaches from the heel and extends up to the ball of your foot. Excessive tension on this band results in pain, usually starting in the heel and then after time radiating forward.
Another condition that can be caused on the bottom of the foot is a sharp shooting pain. Sharp shooting pain on the bottom of the foot may be caused by a condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist in that a nerve gets entrapped, resulting in a sharp, stabbing pain. There are some nerve branches that do come off this nerve and do go to the bottom of the heel, and they can also become entrapped, especially in patients who are overpronators, where their arch rolls too much, or in patients who are a little bit heavier.
In children, one of the more common causes of heel pain is a condition called calcaneal apophysitis, also known as Sever’s disease. Sever’s disease is a condition in which the growth plate becomes inflamed secondary to excessive tension. This can be caused by overuse activities, playing too many sports, or a more obese child. Improper shoe gear is also a big cause calcaneal apophysitis in children.
Some other common causes of pain in the back of the heel is Achilles tendinitis, which is common with people who have a tight Achilles tendon and who exercise without proper stretching.
There is a condition called a Haglund’s deformity, also known as a pump bump, which is a large growth of bone in the back of the heel, more common in women because of certain shoe gear. Soft tissue in the area of the bump can become inflamed and quite painful.
If you have heel pain, don’t suffer. Go to see your podiatrist. There are so many things we can do, just conservatively with physical therapy, shoe gear modifications, arch supports, custom orthotics, and always as a last resort surgery.