Heel Pain

If you are experiencing heel pain, you are most likely to be suffering from plantar fasciitis, which causes pain at the bottom of the heel, or Achilles tendonitis which causes pain at the back of the heel. There are other possible causes of heel pain, including bursitis, stress fractures, heel spurs and rheumatoid arthritis however these are less common. Heel pain normally increases over time and is often worse first thing in the morning or after a period of inactivity. It can affect your walking style as you try to compensate for the pain.

Causes of Heel Pain

  • Plantar Fasciitis is a thickening of the plantar fascia, which is the band of tissue running under the sole of the foot. This happens as a result of tiny tears in the tissue that may develop over months or even years. You may be particularly at risk if you are between 40 and 60 or if you run or jog regularly. Being overweight or wearing shoes that don’t provide adequate support can also contribute to the condition.
  • Achilles Tendinitis is the result of overusing the Achilles tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel. It is particularly common in people who run or jog and may be caused by a sudden increase in the intensity of training. The Achilles tendon naturally weakens with age, so older people are particularly susceptible to injury. Men are at greater risk than women.

Symptoms of Heel Pain

  • Plantar Fasciitis causes heel pain which is worse after inactivity and normally improves with gentle walking. Standing for long periods of time or walking for long distances often exacerbates the condition.
  • Achilles Tendinitis normally begins gradually as a mild ache in the back of the leg or heel, with accompanying stiffness. The pain may become more severe after intense activity such as running or going upstairs.

Diagnosis of Heel Pain

It is important to get a proper medical diagnosis if the pain in your heel is severe or if it follows an injury. If you experience fever, numbness or tingling in your heel or severe loss of movement in the affected foot you should seek urgent medical advice. If you have tried self-care approaches for a few weeks but the heel pain is persisting, it is a good idea to see a doctor.

Treatment of Heel Pain

Mild heel pain often goes away by itself with self-care. Rest your foot wherever possible and avoid standing for long periods or walking on hard surfaces. An ice pack and anti-inflammatories can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Wearing shoes that provide good support to your feet is important and you may also want to try special heel supports that you can buy over the counter. Achilles Tendinitis often responds well to stretching and strengthening exercises and orthotic devices to relieve strain on the tendon. In severe cases you may need surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.


We are an experienced and highly qualified team of orthopaedic surgeons using the latest surgical and non-surgical techniques to eliminate or reduce pain so our patients can experience the best possible quality of life.


Whether you have an existing diagnosis or you are keen to discover what is causing your symptoms, contact us to arrange a consultation. We can organise any tests you require and discuss your treatment options.

What Our Patients Say