Heel pain is a common issue which may occur under and on both sides of your heel. If you feel a sharp pain in the back of your heel, then it is better to go for a medical evaluation. Though there are many causes of heel pain but some major include the following:

  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Bone outgrowths.
  • Sever’s disease
  • Stress breaks.
  • Swollen tendons.

If you feel severe heel pain can’t walk properly then consult with the specialist. It will give you an idea which is the main cause of your pain and how it can be treated.

But how do I get rid of the pain in my heel? Proper treatment is necessary because heel pain hinders different activities, even walking. As many non-surgical treatments recover the heel pain but it takes time.

 What Are the Risk Factors for Heel Pain? 

Heel pain is characterized by a lot of pressure and strain on the back of the heel. This pain may vary and caused by the way of walking and foot shape. But when should I be concerned about heel pain?

Some common causes of sudden heel pain without injury include:

  • Obese people are more likely to suffer from heel pain
  • People with foot and ankle arthritis, as well as flat feet, suffer from pain
  • Running and jumping while sports and exercises
  • Spending enough time in standing
  • Wearing of wrong fitted shoes with no arch support

 What Are the Symptoms of Heel Pain? 

Though heel pain is caused by many factors the symptoms vary according to cause. Along with heel pain, you may notice the following:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Staining
  • Bone outgrowth
  • Toughness
  • Soreness
  • Pain after standing for a long time

 8 Major and Common Causes of Sharp Pain in Back of Heel 

 

sharp pain in back of heel

When we talk about the major causes of heel back pain, the most common are plantar fasciitis, Haglund syndrome and Achilles tendonitis. The heel pain causes burning, itching and a sharp feel based on the cause or intensity. Commonly, the pain originates from the heel back or under the heel area.

Commonly, you may suffer from the worst heel pain in the morning, but after walking and moving for some time, your pain starts improving. However, excessive walking or moving can worsen the pain. For this, you should consider some treatments such as rest, medicines, physical therapy and surgery. Now is the time to explore some major causes of pain in the back of ankle above heel:

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 Common Causes of Heel Pain 

The common cause of heel pain is injury or infection to the bone and surrounding areas of the heel. Also, injury to nerves causes pain in the heel, ankle and foot. Though heel bone is located at the foot back under the ankle. It also has connective tissues and small bones which allow the heel to move the foot back.

Commonly, heel pain is caused by the connective tissues which connect the heel to the foot base or the bottom of the calf muscles.

 Plantar Fasciitis 

Connective tissues are involved in the formation of the foot arch and link the heel bone to the toes. When a cluster of connective tissue gets inflamed, it causes plantar fasciitis. This condition causes a sharp pain in the heel bottom when you put much pressure on the heel after a rest period. Commonly, this pain is worse during the initial steps, but with time and movement, it starts reducing. But people want to know is heel pain a sign of cancer?

If the condition remains for a long duration, it may form a bony outgrowth called a heel spur, which links the fascia to the heel bone. So, the pain in spur is commonly sharp and cutting. In some cases, plantar fasciitis gets ruptured, which then causes swelling and severe pain.

 Achilles Tendonitis 

It is another issue which causes swelling of the Achilles tendon; the long cord tendon links the heel, back and calf muscles. This issue causes severe and sharp pain in the tendons. Also, it may cause inflammation and soreness in the calf and heel.

Commonly long distances and continuous running cause Achilles tendonitis. Also, wrong shoes and cool calf muscles before exercise are the contributing factors to this issue. In some cases, this tendon gets ruptured, which may be due to severe or long-time physical activities. However, this condition causes sharp burning pain in the back of the heel. But some people report a snapping sound after tearing of tendons.

 Uncommon Causes of Heel Pain 

Some other uncommon causes of heel pain which may cause severe conditions include:

 Heel Pad Bruise 

Among all other uncommon causes of heel pain, the major is the heel pad bruise, which becomes the reason for sharp heel pain. Though it is considered as a minor injury caused after a hard landing on heels. While it may also be caused by extra weight-bearing exercises.

 Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome 

It is another uncommon nerve disorder which causes pinching of the posterior tibial nerve located as the large nerve at the foot back. This pain causes burning and sharp pain, which you may often notice at the heel or toe areas.

This syndrome is equal to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist area, which then causes soreness and itchy pain and becomes severe at night time.

 Stress Fractures 

Commonly, this issue occurs in athletes who have to intensify their work in less time. So continuous heel bone stress causes rupturing and fracture.

This condition causes severe heel pain, which worsens with continuous activity but can be improved with rest. Rather than pain, this condition also causes inflammation and tenderness.

 Fat Pad Atrophy 

This issue is common in older adults which causes thinning and breaking of cushioning fat in the heel area. Though the condition doesn’t cause pain in the morning, it may worsen with activity and the passing day.

This condition is similar to heel pad syndrome, which causes thinning of the fat pad. Commonly, marathon runners and obese people are at high risk of this issue. This condition causes a sharp and itching pain in the heel that may become severe after intense activities.

 Haglund’s Syndrome 

Another name for this condition is pump bump, which may occur after the formation of a heel spur at the heel back. Commonly, this condition occurs in people who wear the wrong shoes. So it may cause wobbling, inflammation and soreness in the heel area.

Around the bony bump, soft tissues are present, which may be irritated and cause a condition known as bursitis. This condition is referred to as inflammation of the fluid sac linking joints. This may occur at Achilles tendons or areas where tendons link with the heel bone.

 Sinus Tarsi Syndrome 

Another name for this syndrome is “the eye of the foot.” Sinus tarsi is the outer space of the foot located in between the bone and ankle. Though the space is small, it has many ligaments, nerves, vessels, tendons and fatty tissues.

Commonly, this condition is due to traumatic injury, which then causes severe pain in the ankle. In this injury you feel back of heel pain when walking. However, the pain in the heel back may become severe with intense activities. Also, the condition may cause looseness of the ankle and pose difficulty in walking on rough surfaces.

Also Read: 100% Read Causes of Lower Left Side Back Pain in Females.

 When to See a Healthcare Provider? 

If you don’t know how to care for the sharp pain in the back of your heel nor know the right treatment or medicine, then it is better to consult the healthcare provider.

The following are some conditions when you must consider visiting the doctor:

  • When you can’t walk on your heel
  • If you notice severe pain in the heel, which may hinder sleep
  • When you notice heel pain for many days
  • If you notice any visible discolouration in the heel
  • When there are symptoms of infection, warmth, inflammation, soreness, fever and pain.

 Diagnosing the Cause of Sharp Pain in Back of Heel 

 

Sharp Pain in Back of Heel

Commonly, doctors can diagnose the heel condition and other related issues with medical history and examination. While in some cases, there is a need for imaging and other tests to diagnose the main cause.

 Medical History 

Among all other ways, a detailed medical history is the best way to diagnose heel pain. This history answers the following questions:

  • Where do you feel pain?
  • When did you start feeling pain in your heel?
  • How your pain feel like?
  • Do you feel pain after putting weight on it?
  • Do you feel worsened pain at various times?
  • Is there anything which may injure your foot?
  • Do you notice any other symptoms?

 Treating Heel Pain 

Though the severity of heel pain may vary the treatments also vary based on the cause and severity of pain. If you don’t know what the cause of pain is and how much your pain is severe. Then, you must seek medical advice before starting any treatment.

 Rest 

If you notice any acute reason for sharp pain in the back of the heel, then it is better to avoid such activities, which may be the cause of this pain. It means you should rest for a few days and don’t go jogging or stand or walk for a long time. Also, you may elevate your legs to avoid pain.

 Ice Application 

If you feel pain in many areas of your heel. Then you should use ice packs and apply on the heel area for 20 minutes at least 4 times a day to minimize inflammation and pain. Also, make sure to use a thin towel before applying ice to avoid frostbite.

 Foot Taping 

Another way is foot taping using sports tape to avoid any issues such as heel pad syndrome, heel pad bruises and plantar fasciitis.

Commonly, doctors suggest a certain taping technique for plantar fasciitis, which involves using four tape strips applied to the heel. The doctor also recommends not to place tape tightly and keep it for a week.

 Immobilization 

If your Achilles tendons get ruptured, then you may go for immobilization activity. Place your limbs with your toes in the downward position. However, some injuries ask you to use removable orthotic boots, which then balance the ankle and minimize foot movement.

 Physical Therapy 

To relax tissues around the heel bone, there are many physical therapies. You may perform these therapies or exercises in the morning and evening time according to the treatment plan.

However, if you have Achilles tendinitis, it is better to visit a physical therapist for Alfredson protocol. This process causes tendons and muscles to stretch with eccentric exercises.

 Footwear Modification 

Though sharp pain in the back of the heel is caused by many factors the treatment also varies. Based on the cause, your doctor suggests you different foot supports:

For plantar fasciitis

Keeping your foot straight is necessary, so wearing a splint during nighttime is a good option. Make sure to wear strong, cosy and supportive shoes to support your heel.

For Achilles tendonitis

Make sure to consider orthotics and heel wedges to balance ankle and heel pain.

For Haglund’s syndrome

May be your doctor suggest you alter the heel height of your shoes.

 Pain Medications 

Commonly, doctors suggest taking NSAIDs to minimize pain caused by plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and Haglund. The most common and typical medicines include Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen).

However, if your heel is fractured and you notice severe pain, then you can use opioid drugs for a short period. In some cases, you may use cortisone to minimize swelling and ease pain.

 Surgery 

In a few cases, pain is severe and can’t be controlled with therapies and medicines. So, in such cases, doctors recommend surgery.

For plantar fasciitis, doctors use a plantar fascia release to separate the fascia from the heel bone. Another method is gastrocnemius resection which helps in lengthening of calf muscles and relieving pain.

 Prevention of Sharp Pain in Back of Heel 

 

Sharp Pain in Back of Heel

Whether you suffered from sharp pain in back of heel in the past years or have the risk of pain in the future. Then you must consider some preventive measures to avoid such pain:

Maintain a healthy body weight:

Make sure to maintain body weight because the extra weight may put pressure on the lower body such as the heel.

Wear the right footwear:

Make sure to wear proper and supportive shoes with enough cushioning to prevent any type of heel pain.

Warm-up before activities:

This step is necessary if you have to engage in intense sports and running.

Listen to your body:

Never neglect pain in your heel because it is not a normal thing. Make sure to take a break to check if the pain improved. However, in case it gets worse, go visit a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I have a sharp pain in the very back of my heel?

Back heel pain is a common issue which is caused by many severe issues such as calcaneal apophysitis, Achilles tendon bursitis and a heel spur.

How do you treat sharp heel pain?

  • Make sure to keep your feet heel at resting position and raise it when possible
  • After that, put ice in the towel and keep it at the heel back for 20 minutes after 2-3 hours.
  • Ensure to use comfortable and widest shoes with soft outsole
  • If possible, insert soft insoles in your shoes

Is heel pain serious?

Though sharp pain in the back of the heel is a common issue it may be caused by serious reasons which make the pain serious. Commonly, the heel pain is due to overuse of your feet.

What diseases cause heel pain?

  • Achilles tendinitis.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Bone tumor.
  • Osteomyelitis.
  • Achilles tendon rupture.
  • Haglund’s deformity.
  • Heel spur.

Is heel pain due to uric acid?

With time, uric acid accumulates and becomes the cause of an arthritic type called Gout, which is featured as foot pain, inflation and redness. Commonly, Gout is located in the big toe; however, it may also be located in the foot’s heel, which becomes challenging to differentiate from plantar fasciitis.

Conclusion:

Among all other major pains, heel pain is also a common issue which is caused by many reasons which we have gone through in this blog. Though it is referred to as the pain behind or both sides of the heel. The common cause of sharp pain in back of heel is extra pressure on the heel back while running, lifting heavy weights and standing for long hours. Another reason is tight muscles and high arches, which cause heel pain.

Commonly, pain in the heel back is mild, but with time, it becomes severe. Though it can be treated without surgeries or other treatments. The best ways are the use of NSAIDs, performing exercise and applying ice packs.

Also, when you wear comfortable shoes and don’t stand for long hours, along with maintaining body weight it may protect your heel from pain. However, if no other method works to minimize heel pain and it becomes severe, then make sure to visit the doctor!

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