Heel pain

Heel pain is often the result of a heel spur, which is a bone growth on the heel bone. Heel spurs are usually located on the underside of the heel bone where it attaches to the plantar fascia, a long band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. This connective tissue holds the arch together and acts as a shock absorber during activity. If the plantar fascia is over-stretched from running, wearing poor-fitting shoes or being overweight, pain can result from the stress and inflammation of the tissue pulling on the bone. Over time, the body builds extra bone in response to this stress resulting in heel spurs.


Heel pain is often the result of the plantar fascia being overstretched or overused. Risk factors include:

  • Obesity or sudden weight gain
  • Long distance running
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Shoes with poor arch support or soft soles
  • Foot arch problems (both high arches and flat feet)


The most common complaint is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. Heel pain may be sharp or dull, and it may develop slowly over time or suddenly after intense activity. The pain is typically worse:

  • In the morning, when taking your first steps of the day
  • After standing or sitting for a while
  • When climbing stairs