Heel Pain

What causes heel pain?

There are a number of common foot conditions which can result in heel pain. These consist of:

  • Plantar fasciitis – wear and tear of the soft connective tissue on the bottom of the heel. This is the most common cause of heel pain. This may be the problem if you have difficulty tilting your toes off the floor.
  • Achilles tendonitis – an inflammation of the Achilles tendon which is found at the back of your ankle
  • Heel spurs – bone growths that can develop under the heel from the heel bone
  • Nerve pain
  • Fat pad atrophy – where the fat padding under the skin which cushions your heel bone wastes away, leaving the bone more vulnerable to impacts and pain


Heel pain can also be caused by other conditions such as:

  • Overuse injuries from sports or increased activity
  • Poor footwear – such as those with a lack of support and cushioning
  • Foot posture or altered mechanics (the structure of your foot and how it functions) – for example  if you have very flat or a highly arched foot type, or tight calf muscles
  • Age-related natural progressive wear and tear


What are the symptoms of heel pain?

Heel pain can manifest in a few different ways. For instance, you might experience: 

  • Pain in your heel which sometimes extends into the arch of your foot
  • Pain and/or stiffness which is worse when you first start walking after a period of rest, such as first thing in the morning when you get out of bed
  • Sharp, dull or throbbing pain, followed by inflammation
  • Pain when walking or running while either barefoot or wearing unsupportive footwear

What products can help you?

What can I do to treat my heel pain?

At home heel pain treatment usually consists of managing the pain and removing any potential causes, such as unsupportive footwear. There are various steps you can take to manage heel pain, such as:

Do ✓

  • Rest and elevate your heel when possible.
  • Place an ice pack (wrapped within a towel) under your heel for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours, or roll a chilled drinks can under the heel and arch.
  • Wear supportive footwear, such as a running style trainer with plenty of cushioning.
  • Support your feet further by wearing supportive insoles or orthotics such as the ZeroSole Contour range, which can help distribute pressure evenly across the foot.
  • Regularly stretch the muscles in your calf and foot, particularly the plantar fascia. Good stretches to try include holding a lunge stretch for at least 30 seconds, then stretching the toes back towards you to stretch underneath the foot. Repeat these stretches 2 to 3 times a day including first thing in the morning.
  • Use painkillers and anti-inflammatories to reduce overall pain (consult your health care practitioner or ask your GP first before taking medication)

Don’t X

  • Do not continue high impact activities until you have fully recovered – try swimming or cycling (low impact activities) instead.
  • Do not walk barefoot or continue wearing inadequate footwear e.g., high heels, shallow or very flat and overly flexible shoes.
  • Do not stand or walk for long periods of time without breaks.


Consult with your GP or podiatrist if:

  • Your heel pain persists after you’ve followed the above steps for two weeks
  • The pain prevents you from going about your daily tasks as normal, especially if it affects your sleep
  • You have developed heel pain after an acute (short-term) injury
  • The pain makes you feel dizzy, faint or nauseous
  • You can see bruising or discolouration on your heel
  • Your heel is at an odd angle or has changed shape
  • You heard a snapping, popping or cracking noise when the pain began
  • You are unable to bear weight on the affected foot
  • Your heel pain is getting worse, or keeps coming back
  • You can feel a tingling sensation or numbness in your feet
  • You have diabetes, as this can make many foot problems more serious

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