Why Does My Heel Hurt So Badly?

Why Does My Heel Hurt So Badly?

The heel can be a vulnerable part of the body, as the legend of Achilles demonstrates. With each step you take, the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles in your heel work. They’re also taxed when you’re simply standing. It’s not surprising, then, that heel pain can crop up. 

The question, though, is: what’s causing your heel to hurt so badly? At Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center in Wexford, Pennsylvania, William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, can help you find out. As a heel pain specialist, he has the expertise to pinpoint the cause of your discomfort and treat it. This way, you get lasting pain relief.

Finding a way to alleviate your heel pain begins with figuring out what’s causing it in the first place, so let’s start there. 

Common causes of heel pain

In most people, heel pain stems from one of the following issues: 

Tendon problems

Your tendons anchor muscle to bone. In your heel, they have a particularly heavy load to carry. For example, your Achilles tendon, which connects your calf to the back of your heel, is the biggest tendon in your body. As you move, this tendon can get inflamed, causing calf or heel pain. You can also rupture your Achilles. Fortunately, Dr. DeCarbo specializes in treating both of these issues. 

You might also experience heel pain because of inflammation in other tendons in the area. Our team can pinpoint the problem to help you start on the path to relief. 

Plantar fasciitis

Another inflammation-based problem, plantar fasciitis develops when the thick band of tissue along the bottom of your foot gets overused. It causes a stabbing pain you might feel at the bottom of your heel. This pain usually feels worst in the morning and eases as you move.  

Bone spurs

A calcium deposit building up on the bones in your heel can contribute to heel pain. These heel spurs often come with symptoms that feel like plantar fasciitis. In fact, you might get heel spurs and plantar fasciitis at the same time. 


In your heel (and throughout your body), you have bursae. These are small, fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning. Just like your tendons, the bursae in your heel can get inflamed, causing pain, tenderness, and swelling. 

What to do about heel pain

Visit us. Here at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center, Dr. DeCarbo can figure out what’s going on. To do this, he looks at your medical history, talks with you about your symptoms, and examines your feet and ankles. To get a clearer picture of the issue, he may order additional diagnostics like an X-ray. 

Then, he develops a treatment plan to address what’s causing your heel pain. That might include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Custom orthotics 
  • Different shoes
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching exercises
  • Surgery (only when absolutely necessary)
  • Taping

Your heel shouldn’t hurt so badly. To start walking the path to relief, call our office or book your appointment online today.