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Family Foot & Ankle

Common Causes of Heel Pain

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You’re running a few minutes late from work. You grab your lunch, bolt out to the car, turn your key, and...nothing. Your car won’t start.

Now, there are a wide variety of reasons your vehicle could fail you. The starter could be kaput. Perhaps your battery is dead, or the battery terminals are rusted. Maybe you’re out of gas. You might not really care what the problem is—you just want your car to start! However, if you need to fix it, the cause matters a lot. Even though the symptoms may be the same or similar, the solutions can vary widely.

Pain in your foot and heel can be like that. Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and scads of ligaments, tendons, nerves, and other tissues.  Any one of them can become damaged, broken, torn, or inflamed. Fortunately, the seasoned mechanics at Cincinnati Family Foot and Ankle Center can help you diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs.

Common causes of heel pain include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis: The most common culprit for an aching heel, this condition occurs when the plantar fascia tissue on the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. Pain may be most severe in the morning, when you take your first steps.
  • Heel Spurs: These potentially painful, abnormal bone growths are common in athletes who play sports with a lot of running and jumping. They can also be caused by poor posture when walking or standing, or ill-fitting shoes that put pressure in the wrong spots.
  • Fractures: If you suffer a traumatic impact, you may crack or fracture your heel bone (calcaneus). This may be accompanied by bruising and swelling. Recovery may require surgery, casting, crutches, and physical therapy if the break is severe.
  • Achilles Tendinitis: This overuse injury is common among athletes—particularly runners and older adults—and is caused by repetitive strain and stress on the Achilles tendon.  You may feel a mild ache or stiffness that increases during periods of activity and slowly builds over time.

If you’ve found that your heel has broken down, don’t continue to suffer through it—depending on the cause, you could just be doing more damage. Get it checked out. Call (513) 728-4800 to schedule an appointment at one of our 5 Ohio-based Greater Cincinnati locations, or (859) 282-1572 for Northern Kentucky.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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