Heel Pain Causes And When To See a Doctor [Part 2]

September 13, 2019 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

Heel pain is a common symptom that has many possible causes. Although heel pain is sometimes caused by a systemic (body-wide) illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, it is usually a local condition that affects only the foot. In the first part of “Heel Pain Causes And When To See a Doctor” we talked about stone bruises, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, calcaneal apophysitis and bursitis. Here are other most common local causes of heel pain. 

Posterior calcaneal exostosis 

  • an abnormal bony growth at the back of the heel. It is especially common in young women, in whom it is often related to long-term bursitis caused by pressure from pump shoes.

Achilles tendonitis 

  • In most cases, Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon) is triggered by overuse, especially excessive jumping during sports. However, it can also be related to poorly fitting shoes if the upper back portion of the shoe digs into the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. Less often, it is caused by an inflammatory illness, such as ankylosing spondylitis (also called axial spondyloarthritis), reactive arthritis, gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

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Trapped nerve 

  • Compression of a small nerve (a branch of the lateral plantar nerve) can cause pain, numbness or tingling in the heel area. In many cases, this nerve compression is related to a sprain, fracture or varicose (swollen) veins near the heel.

Fat Pad Atrophy

  • In older adults, the cushioning fat of your heel pad may atrophy, or breakdown. Unlike plantar fasciitis, the pain of fat pad atrophy is absent in the morning, but worsens with activity during the day.

Watch this video by WebMd to learn more about heel pain and its causes:

When to Call the Doctor

If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, seek medical attention.

If you are suffering from heel pain, it’s almost impossible to diagnose yourself. There are many conditions with very similar symptoms, so the best thing you can do is visit a podiatrist in Cary, or a location convenient for you to get medical advice and consultation. 

Here are some definite signs that you should be evaluated by a doctor:

  • Inability to walk comfortably on the affected side
  • Heel pain that occurs at night, or while resting
  • Heel pain that persists beyond just a few days
  • Swelling or discoloration of the back of the foot
  • Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, and warmth
  • Any other unusual symptoms

Podiatry Cary (or other locations)

The Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic’s board certified, fellowship trained doctors and surgeons specialized in podiatry in Cary  bring together many years of experience to diagnose, manage and correct various foot conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to: bunions, hammertoes, mechanical imbalances of the feet, sprains and strains, fractures, arch pain, arthritis or warts.

Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic’s Board Certified Podiatrist, Dr. Carroll Kratzer, works closely with our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. David Boone and Dr. Kevin Logel, to provide patients with conservative treatment options, performing in office procedures, if necessary.

Make an appointment with one of our podiatrists in Cary (or our other locations) to get specialized treatment with a personal approach.

To learn more about podiatry in Cary, call us and we’ll answer all of your questions.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.