Getting Help for Heel Pain

Feet are built to handle lots of stress. Sometimes, excess force and other issues can overwhelm the structures of the foot or ankle, leading to short-term or chronic heel pain. This heel pain typically occurs beneath the heel, behind the heel, or both.

Heel Pain Behind the Heel:

You or your child may be running too much or have shoes that rub or cut into the back of the heel if that heel pain is located behind the heel. This pain is usually due to inflammation in the Achilles tendon and builds slowly over time and may be accompanied by redness and swelling. Because they are still growing, children’s heel pain differs from adult heel pain. The underlying condition often worsens with walking or other activity, and your child should be seen by an expert as soon as possible if the pain is persistent.

Heel Pain Beneath the Heel:

  • Calcium deposits, known as heel spurs, form if plantar fasciitis continues long-term. The injury to the soft tissues and resulting inflammation is the pain source in the case of heel spurs.
  • Plantar fasciitis is a problem that can arise after too much running or jumping. After such activities, the band that connects the heel bone to the base of your toes becomes inflamed, which causes pain. 
  • Stone bruises are bruises on the bottom of the foot that are incurred when you step on a hard surface, like a stone or a rock. Sometimes, you will be able to see the stone bruise, but it is also common for the bruise to not be visible.
  • Sever’s disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, is a very common source of heel pain in children and affects the heel’s growth plate. A major cause is overuse brought on by sports and participation in other activities that lead to muscular strain and inflamed tissue around the heel. 
  • Pinched nerves, fractures, and being overweight are other less common causes for heel pain beneath the heel.

Common Treatments for Heel Pain: 

  • Rest from the activities that are causing your heel pain. 
  • Implement proper stretching techniques before and after activity. 
  • Use anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain. 
  • Complete a physical therapy program with a certified physical therapist.
  • Wear appropriate, properly fitted footwear for any activity. For flat footwear, like cleats, use inserts to raise and cushion the heel.
  • Surgery is typically the last resort, but having an expert perform a surgical procedure can provide long-term relief. 

To receive a customized treatment plan for you or your child's heel or ankle pain, contact our specialty-trained doctor at Litchfield Hills Orthopedic Associates by calling (860) 352-0667 or click here to request an appointment.