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The Healthy: What It Means if You Have Heel Pain When Walking

The Healthy recently spoke with orthopaedic surgeon Christopher Kidd, MD, a foot and ankle specialist at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, about common causes for heel pain and various treatment options.

The three most common causes of heel pain originate in different areas of the lower leg. They include irritation of the ligament between the bottom of the heel and toe (plantar fasciitis), swelling and inflammation of fluid-filled sacs that cushion the backside of the heel (bursitis), and irritation and inflammation of the large tendon that runs from the calf muscle to the heel bone (tendinitis).

After identifying the location of the pain, Kidd told The Healthy it's important to determine whether movement worsens symptoms. Activity will likely increase pain from tendinitis and bursitis, but a little movement can ease pain from plantar fasciitis.

"With plantar fasciitis, you’ll feel pain first thing in the morning, notice it improves after warming up, then feel it worsen after you’ve been on your feet for a while," Kidd told The Healthy.

Kidd added that fortunately, "all of those problems will respond to treatment at least partially within three to four weeks."

Standard at-home remedies are similar for all three conditions. They include resting, stretching, massaging the foot and calf, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.

But Kidd recommends seeing a doctor if heel pain does not respond to treatment after several weeks. He told The Healthy that persistent pain could indicate a more serious issue, such as a stress fracture, a heel spur or arthritis.

Click here to read the complete article from The Healthy.