Possible Causes of Heel Pain

Updated June 13, 2017

According to the Mayo Clinic, pain in the heel of the foot is the most common source of foot pain. The causes of heel pain may include structural problems of the foot, diseases of the tendons, joints or bones in the foot, fractures, abnormal gait and excessive weight. Heel pain may be diagnosed and treated by a family physician, a podiatrist or an orthopedist.


The causes of heel pain may be identified through physical examination of the foot, X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Bone Spurs

Heel or bone spurs, which are an abnormal growth of bone from the heel toward the arch, may cause heel pain and are identified through X-rays of the foot.


Inflammation of the tendon that runs between the heel and the ball of the foot. Also called plantar fasciitis, it is the most common cause of foot pain, according to the Mayo Clinic (see Resources below).


Stress fractures are small cracks in a bone caused by excessive force, and may cause heel pain especially during weight-bearing activities such as walking.


According to the Mayo Clinic, tendinitis in the Achille's tendon is a common cause of heel pain in people who play sports or are otherwise physically active.


Heel pain can be prevented or lessened by wearing properly fitting shoes with solid arch supports, and people with chronic foot pain may benefit from customised orthopaedic inserts for their shoes.

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About the Author

Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.