Heel Pain and Heel Spurs

Heel Pain and Heel Spurs

Heel pain describes many different conditions that can be categorized by their location around the calcaneus (heel).  Being overweight places considerably more stress on the heel and with the absence of suitable padding or cushioning in a shoe, can be the reason for plantar heel pain.

Heel spurs are the result of traction at the calcaneal attachment of the plantar fascia, flexor digitorium brevis and abductor hallucis. Not all heel spurs are painful and not all heel pain is a result of a heel spur.

Inferior or Plantar Heel Area Pain


A fractured heel spur is the acute pain resulting from the fracture of a heel spur and can become swollen. After the fracture becomes heeled shock absorbing heel pads or an orthosis designed to ensure the heel fat pad stays in position under the center of the heel or a heel rocker modification to the shoe are ways to help alleviate the pain.

Compression of the calcaneal nerve has burning, tingling or shooting characteristics.

Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of pain in this area. Click here for more information on plantar fasciitis or for an orthotic device.

Plantar fat atrophy is fairly common natural loss of heel fat padding which cushions the heel. Replacing this padding with a cushioned heel pad device, an accommodative orthosis, or a heel rocker sole will help.

Medial or Lateral Heel Pain


This type of heel pain occurs from side to side compression of the heel which is the result of an injury from a jump or a fall with swelling or bruising around the heel causing a calcaneal fracture.

A calcaneal stress fracture may cause pain similar to plantar fasciitis but again is caused by side to side compression of the calcaneus.

Posterior Heel Pain


Achilles tendinitis is pain during activity especially on an incline. Recent weight gain ankle instability or a change in heel height may cause this condition.  By lifting the heel using a heel lift or an orthotic device it will reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.

Sever’s  Disease

Is limited to growing active children with open growth centers at the base of the Achilles tendon resulting in deep palpitations and significant discomfort.  Shoes with good heel control and an in shoe heel lift will reduce stress on the Achilles tendon.

Haglund’s Syndrome

Is a congenital prominence at the top of the heel at the rear and can cause pain by repetitive activities like stair climbing. Shoes must be fitted so that the top of the heel cup is either above or below the bony prominence to avoid irritation from rubbing.