Heel pain is very common. According to NHS Inform, one in 10 people will experience heel pain at some point in their life. People who run or jog, and people aged 40-60 years, are most likely to be affected by heel pain.
You might be able to work out what’s causing your heel pain depending on when it hurts and the type of pain you experience. Different causes, such as impact injuries or poorly fitting shoes, will have specific symptoms. Some common causes include:
Cracked heels (heel fissures) aren’t usually painful. However, if they’re left untreated, the cracks in your skin can become worse. As they worsen, they may start to cause pain and discomfort when walking or putting weight on your heels. Using a thick moisturizing cream daily can hydrate the skin on your heels and prevent them from cracking further. This may also help heal any existing cracks.
Plantar fascia damage
Plantar fascia damage, also known as plantar fasciitis, is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It occurs because of inflammation in the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes .
The condition typically causes sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot, close to your heel. The pain is usually worse first thing in the morning or after periods of standing still. In most cases, the pain will ease throughout the day. You may also notice the pain resurfacing after long periods of exercise.
Achilles tendonitis develops when you overuse your Achilles tendon , which is the tendon that connects your calf to your foot. It’s most common in runners who suddenly increase the intensity, duration, or regularity of their runs.
Most cases cause pain in the ankle or lower calf when standing on tiptoes or extending your foot. You might also notice some tenderness or stiffness first thing in the morning or after long stationary periods. This should ease as you move around more.
Heel fracture or ruptured Achilles
A heel fracture or ruptured Achilles tendon can be incredibly painful. Both are caused by impact injuries and are usually identified by a sharp pain or popping sound as the injury happens. You’ll also notice some swelling around your ankle and will have difficulty walking. These injuries may need surgery, but many cases can be managed with at-home treatments.
Blisters on heals are common especially if your shoes pinch or rub.