Pain - heel
Heel pain is most often the result of overuse. However, it may be caused by an injury.
Your heel may become tender or swollen from:
Conditions that may cause heel pain include:
The following steps may help relieve your heel pain:
Your health care provider may recommend other treatments, depending on the cause of your heel pain.
Maintaining flexible and strong muscles in your calves, ankles, and feet can help prevent some types of heel pain. Always stretch and warm-up before exercising.
Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Make sure there is enough room for your toes.
Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:
Your provider may order a foot x-ray. You may need to see a physical therapist to learn exercises to stretch and strengthen your foot. Your provider may recommend a night splint to help stretch your foot. At times, further imaging, like CT scan or MRI may be needed. Surgery may be recommended in some cases.
Call your provider if your heel pain does not get better after 2 to 3 weeks of home treatment. Also call if:
Grear BJ. Disorders of tendons and fascia and adolescent and adult pes planus. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 82.
Kadakia AR. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis: hindfoot conditions. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 119.
McGee DL. Podiatric procedures. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 51.
Review Date: 3/20/2018
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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