Heel Pain Specialist

Heel pain is common in patients of all ages, becoming more common as we get older. At Progressive Podiatry in Mt. Airy and Ijamsville, MD, Dr. Jurd-Sadler uses advanced methods to diagnose the cause of pain so treatment can customized based on each patient's specific needs.

Heel Pain Q & A

What causes heel pain?

The heel is the part of the foot that receives the most pressure from daily activities like walking and standing. In addition, sometimes tiny bony deposits or calcifications can form along the edge of the heel bone where they can irritate soft tissues or press into the plantar fascia, a strong band of tissue that extends across the bottom of the foot, supporting the arch and enhancing flexibility and mobility. Heel pain can also occur when the plantar fascia becomes stiff and inflamed as a result of repeated pressure or simply as a result of age-related changes in the tissues, causing a common condition called plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, deep bruises (sometimes called “stone” bruises) can form in the heel, resulting in tenderness and pain. Other causes of heel pain include Achilles tendonitis, arthritis and heel bursitis.

What is heel bursitis?

Bursa are small sacs of fluid that help prevent friction in joints. In the heel, the retrocalcaneal bursa is located near the back of the heel where the Achille's tendon attaches to the foot. Gentle stretching exercises sometimes accompanied by cortisone injections can help relieve irritation and inflammation.

How is heel pain treated?

The first step in treating heel pain is diagnosing the cause. A physical examination of the heel and foot including active and passive exercises and gentle palpation can help pinpoint the source of painful symptoms. Sometimes, diagnostic imaging may be used to obtain additional information that can pinpoint the source. Once the cause is determined, treatment options can include:

  • custom orthotics to reduce pressure on the heel and to support surrounding tissues, including the plantar fasciitis
  • injections of medications to reduce inflammation and irritation
  • regular use of special splint to gently stretch the plantar fascia and improve flexibility in the bottom of the foot
  • splinting or casting for heel pain due to Achilles tendonitis
  • surgery to remove heel spurs or to address other issues that don't respond to more conservative approaches

Losing excess weight can also help by reducing pressure on the heel and the surrounding tissues.


Words from our patients

  • Healthgrades

    "Dr.Jurd is very knowledgeable and personable.She is someone that you can trust and enjoy working with at the same time.This is a very rare combination for most doctors."

  • Wellness

    "Great experience and wonderful staff. Bunion/hammer toe surgery went well!"

    Verified User
  • Wellness

    "The best of the best. Fixed me up after 20 years of pain. saw me for a few minutes, did surgery for a neuroma and I have not had pain since."

    Linda D.
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