Do You Have a Painful Heel? Information and Exercises to Make the Pain Go Away

Posted October 27, 2019 by in Health + Fitness
heel pain in foot

Painful heels are a widespread foot problem, and everyone can sometimes experience it. Those who suffer from heel pain often have discomfort either under the heel (plantar fasciitis) or just behind (Achilles Tendinitis) where the heel joins the heel bone.

Although the pain can be critical and often disabling, it is unusually a minor threat to your overall health condition. The pain most people experience in the heel is usually mild and disappears typically on its own. However, in some cases, the pain can persist and become chronic (or long-lasting) and require some kind of special treatment.

Your foot has 26 bones, of which the heel bone is the largest. The human heel is designed to provide stable support to carry your body weight. As you walk or run, the heel absorbs the force as the foot hits the ground and springs us forward in our next step.

Studies are showing that the weight put on one foot during your walking can be 1.25 times our body weight and 2.75 times when we run. Consequently, your heel is susceptible to various injuries, which in turn causes you to damage your heel bone. 

In most cases, your health pain has a mechanical issue. It can also be caused by arthritis, infection, trauma, a neurological problem, or any other condition that affects the entire body.

woman with heels off due to foot pain

Some Facts About Heel Pain

Whoever had that unfortunate luck to experience the pain in heels know what kind of torment it presents. There are many excellent stretches and exercises for plantar fasciitis to follow, however, you should know that it takes a certain time for a full recovery. 

Nonetheless, you better start doing them slowly if your pain lets you and, if possible, grab a pair of ankle braces to tighten your foot for decreasing the painful sensations. 

In the following lines, we will present to you some facts and other relevant information that you need to know regarding heel pain and how you can avoid it.

  • Heel pain is usually experienced either under the heel or just behind it.
  • International surveys show that 7% of older adults report having some sort of heel pain.
  • Plantar fasciitis/heel spur is estimated to account for 8% of all running-related injuries.
  • 26 bones in total create your foot, the heel bone is the largest one.
  • The pain usually comes gradually without any damage to the affected area. It’s often caused by wearing flat or improper shoes.
  • In most cases, the pain sits under the foot, towards the front of the heel.
  • The majority of patients recover due to effective treatments within a month.
  • Self-care and home exercises such as rest, ice, proper tight shoes, and footrests are often enough to relieve the hassle.
  • In order to avoid painful heel, it is recommended that you reduce the unusual and excessive stress on this part of the body.

What Are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Heel Pain?

If you have pain in the heel, you usually feel the pain either under the heel (plantar fasciitis) or just behind (Achilles tendinitis), where the heel joins the heel bone. The pain usually comes gradually and can often be triggered by wearing flat shoes, such as flip-flop sandals.

Unsuitable shoes can spread the plantar fascia to create a swollen foot (inflammation). In most cases, the pain under the footrests is more towards the front of the heel.

Too many people report experiencing pain after rest. The symptoms tend to get worse soon after getting out of bed in the morning and after a period of rest during the day. After some activity, the symptoms usually feel a little milder. However, they can get worse again towards the end of the day.

Heel pain usually does not begin by a single injury, such as a fall, but is instead the result of repeated stress and pressure on the heel that we neglect for a long time.

The Most Common Causes of Heel Pain

Plantar Fasciitis – Inflammation of the Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is a robust arch-like ligament that runs from the heel bone to the tip of the foot. When the plantar fasciitis is extended too far, its tissues can become irritated, usually where it connects to the heel bone. Sometimes the problem can occur in the middle of the foot. 

You may experience pain under the foot, especially after long periods of rest. Some may have muscle spasms in the calf if the health tendon tightens too much.

heel pain

Heel Bursitis – Inflammation in the Back of the Heel | Bursitis (A Fibrous Sac Filled with Fluid)

This condition can be caused by landing too hard or in a strange but painful way on your heels. It can also be caused by unwanted pressure from improper shoes. The pain is usually felt either deep inside the heel or on the back of the heel. 

Occasionally, the water may swell the area around it, causing you to become fixed in one place for some time. And this is all because, unfortunately, as the day goes on, the pain usually gets worse.

back of heel pain in foot

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

A squeezing syndrome in the tibia between the inner tubercle and the ankle. This ailment defines the pain and paresthesia of the soles. It is caused by containment or pressure on the posterior tibial nerve or any of its branches.

Chronic inflammation of the heel cushion  – caused either by the heel cushion becoming too narrow or too heavy steps.

Tarsal tunnel heel pain

Stress Fracture

A fracture caused by constant pressure, usually caused by strenuous exercise, sports, or heavy manual labor. Runners are especially likely to fracture the middle foot. It can also sometimes be caused by osteoporosis.

photo of mid foot pain

Sever’s Disease (Apophysitis Calcanei)

This is the most common cause of health pain in children/teen athletes. It is caused by overuse and constant microtrauma of the growth plates in the calcaneus (heel bone). Children aged 7-15 are most affected.

severs disease

Achilles Tendinosis (Degenerative Tendinopathy)

A chronic (prolonged) condition associated with the progressive degeneration of the health. Sometimes, when the gland does not function properly due to multiple microscopic damaged areas that cannot heal and repair itself correctly. Then the gland is exposed to more stress than it can, and microscopic wear develops rapidly.

Eventually, the tendon will thicken and weaken, and it will hurt the heel significantly.

Achilles Tendinosis


The pain in the heel area can present a living nightmare for all of us and not just hard labor workers or athletes. It’s always a wise move to prevent rather than to heal, so you should start from obtaining proper shoes for your activities. Always read the pain signals and stop with your activities immediately if the pain decides to return again. 

If you are already experiencing pain down there, then you should follow the exercises we mentioned earlier and slowly but surely say goodbye to this unfortunate condition. 

We hope that we were of some help in clarifying why does heel pain happen and how you can reduce your already unbearable situation.