Tell someone you have heel pain and you’ll probably get a lot of sympathetic nods. Painful heels plague millions of people across the United States every year. The good news is that there are many different treatments designed to minimize and eliminate heel pain. The key is knowing the specific cause of your condition so the treatments can target it.
Identify Your Symptoms Quiz
How do you know the underlying culprit? To get an accurate diagnosis, you need specialists like our team at Martin Foot and Ankle to examine your lower limbs and perform tests. However, the symptoms are your greatest clues to what’s causing your pain. The more you know about your pain, the easier it will be for us to help you.
Here’s a simple quiz about your symptoms to help narrow down what might be behind your heel pain:
1. Where in your heel is the pain most uncomfortable?
- Underneath the sole. (1 point)
- Behind the back of the heel and up behind your ankle. (2 points)
- Around a hard bump on the back of your foot. (3 points)
2. When is your discomfort most intense?
- First thing in the morning after getting up. (1 point)
- After going for a run or exercising. (2 points)
- After wearing stiff-backed shoes. (3 points)
3. How did your heel pain develop?
- Slowly over a period of time, especially after being active. (1 point)
- Suddenly, after an injury. (2 points)
4. Does resting improve your discomfort at all?
- Yes, it improves my discomfort. (2 points)
- Yes, but if I sleep or rest for too long, standing up hurts a lot. (1 point)
- No, it doesn’t make a difference. (3 points)
5. Do you notice any swelling or discoloration in your heel?
- Yes, I have some swelling and redness. (2 points)
- Yes, my heel appears bruised. (3 points)
- No, my heel looks normal. (1 point)
Now tally up your points and see what your symptoms might be telling you.
1 – 6 points: Plantar Fasciitis – This is the most common cause of heel pain in adults. Pain underneath the foot, especially in the morning, is one of the most defining factors.
6 – 8 points: Achilles Tendinitis – This is usually a sports injury to your Achilles tendon. You end up with aching in the back of the foot and up behind the ankle, especially after activities.
8 – 11 points: Haglund’s Deformity/heel bursitis – Haglund’s deformity is a bony bump on the back of your foot. Heel bursitis is inflammation in the bursa that sits between your heel bone and your Achilles. These two are often closely linked, and Haglund’s deformity can actually lead to bursitis.
11 – 12 points: Fractures – Your heel bones are just like any other bone. They can develop stress fractures or full breaks under enough force.
This is by no means an exhaustive (or infallible!) list—it just includes some of the more common problems. If your school-age child struggles with plantar fasciitis-like symptoms, it might be Sever’s disease. When you’re older, those same symptoms might signal a thinning foot pad. Nerve pain symptoms might be from tarsal tunnel syndrome. Bone tumors, arthritis, neuropathy, and more can all create different types of heel pain. The only way to know for sure what you have is to recognize all of your symptoms and seek help for them.
Let our team of podiatry experts at Martin Foot and Ankle help you move forward and eliminate your heel pain, no matter the cause! We have offices conveniently located in York, Hanover, and Lancaster, PA. Just call (717) 757-3537 or use our website to make an appointment with us today.