Heel pain is one of the most common foot-related health problems, affecting more than 2 million Americans each year. If you experience heel pain that doesn’t let up, don’t wait to seek professional help. At Diablo Podiatry and Bay Vascular, podiatrists Christyn Marshall, DPM, AACFAS and Jenny Lam, DPM, AACFAS and the team use safe, effective treatments to manage heel pain and keep it from getting worse. To make an appointment at the practice in San Ramon, California, call the office today or schedule online.

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What is heel pain?

Heel pain refers to any discomfort or irritation that affects the bottom back portion of your foot. Almost everyone experiences heel pain on occasion, but if your symptoms last for days or weeks, it could point to a more serious underlying issue.

What are some common causes of heel pain?

Common causes of heel pain include:

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition that occurs due to overuse. It causes tears to form in your plantar fascia –– a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone, but it’s especially common in people who are middle-aged and physically active.


Fractures cause one (or several) bones to experience visible damage. If you fracture your heel or one of the bones in your ankle, you might experience swelling, bruising, or the inability to put weight on your affected heel.


Arthritis is a group of chronic diseases that cause your joints to swell and stiffen. Several types of arthritis can affect the heel, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

How is heel pain diagnosed?

To diagnose heel pain, your Diablo Podiatry and Bay Vascular provider reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms, including their severity and if any activities like exercise make them worse. Next, your provider gently presses on your heel to pinpoint areas of swelling, redness, or warmth.

If a physical exam isn’t enough to determine the source of your heel pain, your provider orders diagnostic imaging, like X-rays or an MRI. These tools capture detailed images of the soft and hard tissues beneath your skin.

How is heel pain treated?

At Diablo Podiatry and Bay Vascular, the team treats heel pain using conservative, noninvasive means, if possible. For example, you might benefit from:

  • Rest
  • Icing your heel
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication
  • Wearing a night splint
  • Custom orthotics
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Physical therapy

You might also benefit from lifestyle modifications, like losing weight, changing your exercise routine, or wearing comfortable shoes that provide extra support.

In rare instances, your provider might recommend surgery, but only as a last resort. That’s because heel pain requires a lengthy recovery period and it isn’t always successful.

To receive all-inclusive care for heel pain, make an appointment at Diablo Podiatry and Bay Vascular by using the online booking tool or calling the office today.