Symptoms and causes

Lower heel pain is usually a consequence of an injury to the ligament on the bottom of the foot (plantar fascia), which represents the functional continuation of the Achilles tendon in the foot. Overburdening of this ligament may cause micro-injuries that do not heal. This may result in an inflammatory response (plantar fasciitis). This sometimes causes bone growth, also termed bone spurs (this growth is not the cause of the pain however).

Diagnosis and treatment

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis requires ultrasound imaging and potentially an MRI scan. The treatment may consist of eccentric stretching exercises of the Achilles tendon and the sole of the foot, potentially including ice massage. Using shock absorbing shoe heels or tailored inlays may offer a solution. Sometimes interventional treatment is required. Surgery is rarely necessary.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Orthopaedics and Traumatology

Latest publication date: 17/01/2022
Supervising author: Dr Desmyter Stefan