Some of the most common conditions we diagnose include:
This is the single most common heel pain condition for American adults.
Your arches are supported by a long band of thick ligament tissue that runs from the front of the heel bone to the base of the toes. This ligament is called the plantar fascia.
When irritated and pulled by constant pressure, the plantar fascia can stretch and tear, causing inflammation and pain. This is usually located right near the point where the plantar fascia connects to your heel bone, underneath your foot.
People who suffer from plantar fasciitis often experience the worst pain when standing for the first time after getting out of bed, or getting up from the couch after watching a movie or reading a book.
Heel spurs are bony growths of deposited calcium that build up on the surface of your heel bone. The most common type of heel spur extends forward from the bottom of the heel bone, and can reach up to half an inch in length.
Usually, heel spurs occur because you have a chronic case of plantar fasciitis that hasn’t been treated. The stretching and tearing away of the plantar fascia from the heel bone is what allows the calcium to begin to deposit. For this reason, heel spurs are often (but not always!) found in conjunction with plantar fasciitis.
Heel spurs do not always cause heel pain. Usually, pain goes away once the plantar fasciitis has been treated. However, if a heel spur is particularly long or pressing on a sensitive area of tissue, it may need to be treated independently.
The Achilles tendon, or “heel cord,” connects the calf muscle at the back of the leg to the heel. It plays an important role in helping you stand, walk, run, and jump. But even though it’s the body’s thickest and strongest tendon, it’s also vulnerable to injury due to the high stress loads it must handle.
Overuse can cause the tendon to become stretched, torn, or inflamed near where it inserts into the heel bone, at the back of the heel. Common symptoms include pain and stiffness after activity.
Bursae are small, thin, fluid-filled sacs that are strategically positioned near most joints, including the ankles. Their job is to provide cushioning between the bones in a joint so there’s less friction and smoother movement.
There is a bursa located between the Achilles tendon and the heel bone, and similar to Achilles tendinitis, repetitive trauma can cause the bursa to swell painfully.
Just like chronic plantar fasciitis can cause heel spurs, chronic bursitis and/or Achilles tendinitis can result in the growth of a bony bump at the back of the heel.
Haglund’s deformity is also commonly known as “pump bump,” since it’s especially associated with high-heeled, “pump” style shoes. However, any footwear with an especially hard or tight heel back—such as work boots or ice skates—can produce the same effect.
This is not actually a disease, but an injury that exclusively affects children—especially active adolescents.
While a child is still growing, the ends of many bones are covered by a “growth plate,” which is an area of softer tissue responsible for growing new bone tissue. When the skeleton reaches maturity, the growth plates are covered up, but during childhood and adolescence they remain more exposed and vulnerable.
One of these growth plates is located at the back of the heel bone, and active kids may sometimes irritate or injure it due to overuse. Fortunately, the condition usually corrects on its own if your child just rests from high-impact athletes for a couple of weeks. However, failure to treat the cause can lead to longer-term discomfort.