Why does it hurt in the heel when walking?

Many people who are beginning to worry about pain in the heel when walking, hope that this problem will be solved by itself. This is their biggest mistake. The heel, in contrast to other parts of the musculoskeletal system, is constantly subject to stress, so people can not provide it with functional rest. Sometimes you can not get rid of the pain in the heel without special treatment.

Heel and its function

Like the rest of the foot, the heel plays the role of shock absorber when walking or running, it provides a person with the ability to walk upright. At the base of the heel of the person lies the heel bone, which is the largest bone formation of the foot. Surrounded by the heel bone with a large amount of fat, it has a specific and ideal shape for its functions.

This makes it possible to withstand the heel of heavy loads. When walking or running, the impact force is absorbed( absorbed) by the heel tissues, which protects the spine from injury. If the anatomical integrity or shape of the calcaneus changes, this leads to a disruption of its cushioning abilities, which is fraught with damage to the structures of the spine and spinal cord.

Heel bone refers to spongy bone. Because of its relatively large size, the bone is more fragile than other foot bones( their structure is more compact).In addition, blood vessels and nerves are stretched through the bone tissue. All these anatomical features create the prerequisites for the defeat and development of pain in the heels when walking.

foot structure
Features of the foot structure and large calcaneus bone provide a person with the ability to walk directly

Causes of pain

There is an erroneous opinion among the population that the heel hurts only with the formation of the heel spur. This is far from the case. There may be several reasons for this symptom.

The main causes of pain:

  • plantar fasciitis;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • calcaneal spur;
  • tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon of the foot;
  • bursitis - inflammation of synovial foot bags;
  • osteoporosis;
  • traumatic injuries;
  • wearing uncomfortable and improper shoes;
  • long stay on legs;
  • reactive arthritis, which has an infectious etiology( chlamydia, gonorrhea, campylobacter, etc.);
  • gout;
  • psoriatic arthritis;
  • erythromelalgia;
  • polyneuropathy( "burning heel syndrome"), the defeat of nerve endings in diseases such as diabetes, hereditary and acquired neuropathies.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons for pain in the heel when walking. Therefore, it is important at such signs to consult a specialist for advice. After all, in each individual case, treatment will differ depending on the cause. The most common causes of pain syndrome in the heel are discussed below.

Plantar fasciitis

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X-ray of foot Arthritis of the ankle

This is a disease characterized by the appearance or strengthening of pain in the heel during exercise. The development of pathology is caused by inflammatory-degenerative changes in the fascia of the sole. The plantar fascia( aponeurosis) is a connective tissue, a very strong plate that connects the heel bone to the bones of the foot. It plays the role of a kind of cable that supports the arch of the foot, performs damping functions and absorbs tension when walking and running.

With excessive overloads of feet, the aponeurosis does not stand up, it develops microcrosses and tears. On this situation the body reacts by activation of inflammatory reactions, which leads to the development of pain in the heel when walking.

The main manifestation of the disease is pain along the heel during exercise, especially after sleep.

Principles of treatment

  • restriction of load on foot;
  • orthopedic shoes;
  • reception of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, locally - anti-inflammatory ointments and gels;
  • ice massage;
  • complex of therapeutic gymnastic exercises;
  • dressing for the night special braces, braces, which fix the foot at a right angle.

Heel spout

This is an effect in time of untreated plantar fasciitis. Damaged tissue of the plantar aponeurosis, which originate from the calcaneus, will eventually become calcified. A kind of bone growth on the calcaneus is formed, which is called a calcaneal spur.

Heel spur
Heel spur occurs with untreated plantar fasciitis( calcification of the plantar aponeurosis site)

The main symptom of the heel spur is pain in the heel that arises or intensifies in the morning after sleep at the first steps, after a long stay of the person in an upright position, while climbing the stairs after a longwalking or running.

Principles of treatment

  • full functional rest for several weeks;
  • laser and shock wave therapy;
  • massage;
  • is a local introduction to the heel area of ​​corticosteroid hormones;
  • surgical treatment.
Shock Wave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is a very effective method for treating heel pain

Rheumatoid arthritis

This is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies are produced in the body against their own joint components. Often the typical course of the disease is complicated by the occurrence of pain in the heels.

Principles of treatment

  • adequate therapy of rheumatoid arthritis( cytostatics, immunosuppressants and other antirheumatic drugs);
  • symptomatic treatment( non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesic, both systemically and locally);
  • physiotherapy procedures;
  • massage;
  • treatment complex exercises.

This disease has an infectious etiology and is provoked by such pathogens as Yersinia, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Clostridium, Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, etc.

Symptoms, in addition to pain in the heels, are inflammation symptoms - swelling, redness,temperature.

Principles of treatment

  • antibiotic therapy taking into account the etiologic factor;
  • anti-inflammatory and analgesics;
  • glucocorticoid drugs and immunosuppressors;
  • physiotherapy;
  • functional rest;
  • exercise therapy.


As is known, osteoporosis is a systemic disease. With it, the density of all the bones of the body, including the heel bones, decreases. As a result, pain occurs in the heel. Another cause of pain in the heels of osteoporosis is an excessive load on the foot due to a spinal injury, resulting in an uneven load distribution.

Principles of treatment:

  • administration of drugs that slow the resorption of bone tissue and promote bone formation;
  • medications that have calcium and vitamin D.

Tendonitis of the Achilles tendon

It is an inflammation of the tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the calcaneus. Suspected of this disease can be on the following grounds. The pain occurs along the tendon and spreads to the heel, the affected area reddens and swells, when you get up on your feet, especially on your socks, there is a sharp pain, limiting the mobility of the foot.

Principles of treatment

  • limitation of mobility, fixation of the foot by elastic bandage or special orthoses;
  • reception of anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics;
  • in some cases impose a gypsum limestone;
  • at the stage of rehabilitation - exercise therapy, physiotherapy, massage;
  • at rupture of a sheaf - an operative measure.

Diabetes mellitus

Heel pain with diabetes mellitus has a burning or shooting character. Disturbs the patient, both during exercise and during rest. Often accompanied by numbness of the limbs, a sensation of tingling and crawling, "chills," dry skin, its peeling, fungal lesions, trophic ulcers.

Very often it happens that a person does not know that he has diabetes, but the pain in the heel is so pronounced that it is she who forces her to seek medical help.

trophic changes in the skin of the heels
If you are worried about chronic heel pain and trophic changes in the skin of the heels, then be sure to consult a specialist to eliminate diabetes mellitus

. The principles of treatment are to compensate for diabetes and symptomatic therapy( oral hypoglycemic medications, insulin therapy, vasodilators, metabolic drugs), physiotherapy.

pain in the heel