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Why Does My Heel Hurt?

Why Does My Heel Hurt?

It can be hard to ignore foot pain, especially when it causes intense stabbing feelings, tingling, or numbness in your heel. Unfortunately, about 75% of Americans experience some form of foot problem during their lifetime. And, when it comes to pain in the heel area, the most common culprit is plantar fasciitis.

John Jurcisin, DPM, is committed to providing convenient, comfortable, and state-of-the-art podiatric treatment at Precision Footcare in the Midtown East neighborhood of New York City. With more than 31 years of experience in podiatry, Dr. Jurcisin can identify the underlying cause of your heel pain and determine the most effective course of treatment to relieve it.

In this blog, Dr. Jurcisin shares the most common causes of heel pain and how he can help.

Plantar fasciitis

Do the first steps you take every day cause a stabbing pain in your heel? It could be plantar fasciitis. This condition develops when the band of tissue on the bottom of your foot — the plantar fascia — becomes irritated, inflamed, or damaged. While the plantar fascia connects your toes to your heel, symptoms usually occur in the heel.

Plantar fasciitis often develops from overuse, and it’s most common in runners, those who are overweight, and individuals who wear shoes without proper support.

Heel spurs

A heel spur describes an abnormal bony growth where your plantar fascia attaches to your heel bone. These growths don’t always cause symptoms, but when they do, they usually include pain and tenderness on the bottom of the heel that worsens with time.

Like plantar fasciitis, this foot condition typically occurs from long-term strain on the plantar fascia. It’s common for people to have heel spurs and plantar fasciitis at the same time.


A bursa is a tiny, slippery sac of fluid. You have bursa all over your body to reduce friction between your joints, tendons, and muscles, including at your heel.

When you have bursitis in your heel, this cushiony sac becomes inflamed. This leads to uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain in the center of the bottom of your heel. If you’re like most people, the sensations will worsen if you spend a lot of time on your feet, and they’ll become even more intense if you bend your foot up or down.

Achilles tendonitis

Unlike the foot problems listed above, Achilles tendonitis causes pain on the back of your heel, not the bottom. That’s because it involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon where it attaches to the heel bone.

Like other causes of heel pain, Achilles tendonitis is often due to overuse. Still, you can also develop problems due to poorly fitting shoes or inflammatory illnesses, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition to pain in the back of the heel, it’s common to experience stiffness, soreness, and mild swelling when you have Achilles tendonitis.

Trapped nerve

You may be familiar with compressed nerves in the spine. However, they can also develop in small nerves, including a branch of the lateral plantar nerve in your foot. When you have a compressed plantar nerve, it can lead to intense pain, numbness, or tingling anywhere in your heel — including the back, inside, or underside.

In most cases, trapped nerves develop because of an injury, such as a sprain or fracture. When this occurs, it’s common to have additional symptoms, such as swelling or discoloration.

Treating heel pain

After diagnosing your foot condition, Dr. Jurcisin can make personalized recommendations to treat your symptoms at the source. In many cases, treating heel pain involves:

Depending on your condition and whether it responds to conservative treatments, Dr. Jurcisin could recommend foot surgery.

Do you have heel pain? Dr. Jurcisin can get you back on your feet again. To learn more, call 212-750-8344 or book an appointment online with Precision Footcare today.

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