Possible Causes of Your Heel Pain—A Quick Quiz

When you have a tummy ache, it is sometimes hard to pinpoint the cause: Are you hungry? Did you eat something that disagreed with you? Could a bug be working its way through your system? Diagnosing heel pain presents similar difficulties, because there is a wide variety of conditions that lead to this symptom. Here is a quick quiz to help you explore some possible reasons:

  1. Is the pain under the front of your heel toward the arch? Sharp or stabbing sensations in this area often mean plantar fasciitis—an inflammation of the ligament that supports your arch. This is the most common reason for heel discomfort.

  2. Does the cord above the back of your heel hurt? This usually indicates Achilles tendinitis, or possibly inflammation in the bursa between the Achilles and the bone.

  3. Is there a bony bump at the back of your foot? This could indicate Haglund’s deformity, an overgrowth of bone tissue caused by pressure and irritation—often due to ill-fitting shoes or high heels that press in on the heel.

  4. Is the bottom, fleshy part of your heel sore? This could be because the fat pad is deteriorating and not cushioning the calcaneus as well. It could also be a stone bruise caused by landing on a hard object.

  5. Is the pain around your inside ankle bone? A branch of the tibial nerve that helps support your arch could be entrapped and compressed, causing tingling, discomfort, and numbness.

There are many other, less common reasons for discomfort in this area as well. Arthritis, gout, a nerve growth or tumor, neuropathy, or even a problem with the way your foot and ankle move as you walk and run (your gait) can all be factors.

You need expert help to determine exactly why you are having trouble, and we are here to provide just that. We can often figure out what is wrong just from your medical history, descriptions of symptoms, and a physical examination of the foot, but we have imaging and other tests that can help us confirm or narrow down the diagnosis as well.

When your feet or ankles hurt, you can reach Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey at 908-222-8980 to schedule an appointment, or request one online. Our office is conveniently located on Oak Street between Edison and South Plainfield, NJ and we would be delighted to help you conquer your heel pain for good!

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