Pain in the heel can result from a number of factors. Abnormalities of the skin, nerves, bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues of the heel can all result in pain. Because of walking and daily movement, we are always at risk for injury or trauma to the heel area. Common causes of pain in the heel include blisters and corns. Plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the “bowstring-like” tissue in the sole of the foot stretching from the heel to the front of the foot, is one condition commonly associated with heel pain.
A bony spur projecting from the back or underside of the heel bone (the calcaneus) that often makes walking painful. A calcaneal spur is also called a heel spur.
Spurs at the back of the heel are associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinitis) and cause tenderness and pain at the back of the heel that is made worse by pushing off the ball of the foot.
Spurs under the sole (plantar area) are associated with inflammation of the plantar fascia (the “bowstring-like” tissue stretching from the heel underneath the sole) and cause localized tenderness and pain made worse by stepping down on the heel.