Heel Pain? Know your options.

Most people, with their active lifestyles and constant stress to their feet will develop some level of heel pain. The good news is you don't have to continue living with it!

Over 2 million people in the U.S. will be treated each year for heel pain--so you are not alone. While heel pain can vary in severity and cause, one thing is for sure--it affects your daily living. You want and should enjoy your everyday life and living with heel pain does not have to weigh you down! An appointment with a highly-trained foot and ankle doctor or podiatrist is vital to assess why you are experiencing heel pain and how it can be treated.

So what exactly is heel pain and its causes?


The heel bone (calcaneus), is the bone located at your heel and various structures surround it. The heel bone is also the location for which the plantar fascia originates from. The plantar fascia is composed of dense bands of fibrous tissue that support the arch of the foot and inserts at the balls of the feet. Also, the heel has a dense fat pad that allows shock absorbent properties when we walk and run. There are further structures within the ankle that pass near the heel including the Achilles tendon and various nerves and vessels. Overall, the anatomy of the heel is complex and the podiatrist or foot and ankle specialist treating you should have a thorough understanding of all these structures and how they may contribute to your heel pain.


Heel pain can stem from mechanical-related changes and foot structure, nerve impingement within the rearfoot and heel, and some rheumatologic conditions.

Heel pain caused from plantar fasciitis is due to micro-tearing at the fascia’s origin.

While plantar fasciitis is the most common issues resulting in heel pain, other potential causes of heel pain could include a stress fracture, soft tissue tumor, tendinitis, nerve entrapment and in children, an over-use stress injury at the heel’s growth plate.


Further assessment of your foot and ankle structures may be performed with digital x-rays. Radiographs (x-rays) also rule-out any further osseous component of heel pain.

Today we will touch on plantar fasciitis and its treatment options as it is one of the most common issues resulting in heel pain we see. As we noted earlier, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation resulting from micro-tearing of the fascia due to trauma or injury. It could be caused from your foot structure, training methods, shoe-type, a reduction in your heel's fat-pad or other related issues.

Treating plantar fasciitis first begins with a reduction of the inflammation. Once the inflammation has reduced, getting to the root-cause of the issue is key. A comprehensive examination performed by your foot doctor is vital to assess why you are experiencing plantar fasciitis.

The mainstay of treatment can include the following options to reduce inflammation and heal the plantar fascia as well as correcting any structural issue your foot and ankle may have.

1. Stretching

2. Anti-inflammatories

3. Splinting/Supportive Tape

4. Custom molded Orthotic Devices

5. Advanced Therapy including growth-factor therapy

6. Possible Surgical Intervention

Visit Dr. Bultsma your top Macomb and Clinton Township podiatrist and foot doctor today for a full assessment of your heel pain.

Dr. Brandon Bultsma has advanced training in treatment for all types of heel pain related issues.

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