Foot and Heel Pain

Heel Pain

Heel pain can be caused by heel stress, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, excessive pronation, Achilles tendinitis, bruising, stress fractures, or disease.

Abnormalities in one's walking gait places too much stress in the heel bone and the soft tissues attached to it, causing pain. Heel stress can also result from injury, bruising from contact with hard surfaces, wearing poorly constructed footwear, or being overweight.

Heel spurs are a painful bony growth under the front part of the heel bone. Heel spurs stretch the long band of tissue that connects the heel and ball of the foot, over time tearing away the lining and membrane that covers the heel bone.

Both heel pain and heel spurs can be associated with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the band of fibrous connective tissue (fascia) running along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is common among athletes, and is aggravated by poorly constructed shoes that lack arch support or by chronic irritation that causes the plantar fascia to tear or stretch at various points along its length and at the heel bone.

Excessive pronation (when the foot rolls in too much) can also cause foot pain. Excessive pronation while Jogging and running stretches and pulls on the fascia, causing inflammation and pain. Heel pain while jogging or running can also result from Achilles tendinitis, an inflammation of the sheath surrounding the Achilles tendon, which runs along the back of the heel. If left untreated, Achilles tendinitis can cause chronic thickening and inflammation of the tendon.

Bone bruises and stone bruises are common heel injuries that occur when the skin that covers the heel bone becomes inflamed and when a hard object injures the foot. Stress fractures (hairline cracks in bone caused by repetitive stress) can also occur from bruising, but are less frequent.

Finally, different diseases can contribute to foot and heel pain. Rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis, including gout, can cause heel pain in some cases, as can bursitis (a small, irritated sack of fluid), neuroma (a nerve growth), and Haglund's deformity (a bone enlargement at the back of the heel bone).

Foot Pain

Acute pain across the bottom of your foot (the instep) can be caused by a stress fracture. Stress fractures are hairline breaks in the bone that result from repetitive low-level stress or pounding. Stress fractures can be slow to heal and can worsen if not treated promptly. You may need a temporary walking cast or a special shoe.

Foreign materials in the skin of the foot, blisters, skin abrasions, cuts, and sprains also cause pain. Whenever you sustain a foot or ankle injury, you should seek immediate treatment from a podiatric physician.

If you are experiencing foot or heel pain, call our office at (512) 407-8188 to make an appointment to see Dr. Ames.