Heel Pain

Heel pain can be from many sources including but not limited to:


Stress fracture

A fracture that occurs typically from an overuse injury that results in a small hairline fracture. Pinpoint tenderness over a bone is characteristic of this injury.  It can happen in any bone in your foot or ankle and commonly occurs in the forefoot- the area between your midfoot and the ends of your toes. Stress fractures do not always show up on xray within 14 days of the injury.  Stress fractures typically require taking pressure off of your foot to heal for 6-8 weeks.



Heel fractures are very serious injuries which often occur from falling from a height. 

Fractures can occur in any bone of the foot or ankle and frequently require offloading and occasionally surgical intervention.  Fractures of the foot often result in swelling, bruising and pain on direct pressure over the location of the bone. Fractures are distinguished from stress fractures by being larger and sometimes displaced.  Fractures can result in long term arthritis in the joints surrounding the fractured bone and it is best to have these evaluated as early as possible. Both ankle fractures and foot fractures can be treated at Carolina Foot and ankle.

If you have any of these symptoms or think your suffering from a stress fracture or fracture give the Doctors at Carolina Foot and Ankle Associates a call as soon as possible as these injuries are time sensitive.  Both ankle fractures and foot fractures can be treated at Carolina Foot and ankle. If it is a weekend it would be best to seek care as early as possible at an urgent care or emergency room.


Plantar fasciitis/heels spurs

This is a very common source of heel pain characterized by pain which occurs when standing up from a sitting or lying position.  It is caused by a tight band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot with pain typically occurring at the inside of the heel.  This is often also associated with tight calf muscles.  Stretching may resolve your pain.  There are many other treatment options we can do for you if stretching does not resolve your condition.


Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrom occurs when the nerve that runs into the bottom of the foot is pinched or compressed on the inside of your foot.  This heel pain is also associated with a shooting stinging type of pain that may radiate through your foot or up your leg. This is also typically located at the inside of your foot.  Stretching your calf muscles may help with this, but it often requires further treatment in the office which may include injections.


Peroneal tendonitis/tears/ruptures

The peroneal tendons are two tendons that enter the foot from the outside of the leg.  Pain is typically located behind the bump on the outside of your ankle or on the bump on the outside middle location of your foot.  Treatment of this typically requires bracing, or offloading with a boot or cast.  If there is a tear in the tendon or rupture of the tendon it may require surgical intervention.


Posterior Tibial tendonitis

This is the tendon responsible for holding up your arch and is located by the bump on the inside of your foot and runs up the inside of your leg.  Pain will typically occur along the course of the tendon at its insertion in the bump and behind the bump of bone on the inside of your ankle.  This often requires bracing, offloading, or inserts.



Masses can occur in bone or soft tissue.  If a mass on your foot or ankle is painful it should be evaluated early.  Painful masses in the bones can also occur.  Cancers can also occur and can be metastasized to the bones of your foot or cancers can originate in the foot locally.  Most masses in the foot are benign and can be treated.  Masses that have fluid in them can be drained and may resolve.  Biopsies and advanced studies like CT scans and MRI are sometimes required to evaluate masses in the foot or ankle further. Nonpainful masses can also be concerning, especially if they are growing.  If you believe you have a mass in your foot, you should present for evaluation early.



Calluses are thickened areas of skin caused by rubbing or pressure and are often located on the soles of your feet.  Cutting on these lesions at home is not recommended as it can lead to infection or ulceration.  Filing these lesions is sometimes acceptable and utilizing a cream or lotion on these lesions can soften them making them less painful.  There are many treatments that can be performed for calluses in the office including offloading the lesions with inserts or padding. There are also specialized prescription creams specifically directed at resolving calluses and physician debridement can provide palliative relief.


Return to Common Conditions


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If you are feeling ill, please call your primary care physician, or other healthcare provider. In the case of an emergency, please go to the nearest hospital.




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