Many people experience pain in their heads at one point or another. If you are suffering from heel pain, there are a number of things that could be going on.

Here are four questions to ask yourself if you are having heel pain:

  1. Is your heel pain in one heel or both heels?
  2. Is your discomfort activated by activity or does it also occur during periods of rest?
  3. Is there any bruising or swelling in the region where you are experiencing heel pain?
  4. How long have you experienced this condition?

Depending on the type of heel pain that you are experiencing, there are a number of different conditions that sometimes cause pain in the heels. Here are five possible medical conditions that may cause heel pain:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis – Many people that have plantar fasciitis complain of pain in their heels. Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation to the tissues that are on the arch of your foot. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may include pain in the heel after a reasonable amount of time on your feet, walking, running or standing still. Stretching exercises can help alleviate the heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. You may find comfort from wearing padded inserts in your shoe heel area.
  2. Heel Bruising – Sometimes you may experience heel pain after stepping on a sharp or hard object which bruises your heel. Referred to as “stone bruises” – these do not always come with any visible bruising but involve a breeze on your heel.
  3. Bone Spurs – Bone spurs on your heel are calcium deposits that are underneath your heel bone. Sometimes heel spurs cause pain, especially during physical activity. They are more common among people that engage in a reasonable amount of physical activity that involves jumping and running.
  4. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – If you have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, you are suffering from a pinched posterior tibial nerve inside the tarsal tunnel. Symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling, burning or pain in your foot and heel area. Sometimes symptoms improve with rest and anti-inflammatory medicine. It may be necessary to try some different shoes. If the pinched nerve continues to cause discomfort, cortisone injections may be recommended.
  5. Stress Fractures – sometimes people who engage in repetitive activity like long distance running experience stress fractures that can cause heel pain. If you are suffering from a calcaneus fracture, you may experience swilling or bruising in your heel along with pain and in severe cases, trouble walking.

As with many different types of injury, rest is often a remedy to treat heal pain. If you typically participate in activities that involve a lot of time on your feet, or pounding and jumping, by taking time to rest, you may reduce the amount of inflammation you are experiencing.

Sometimes putting ice on the area that hurts is also beneficial. You may also find it helpful to consider custom shoe inserts like orthotics or over the counter inserts for your shoes that provide additional support to alleviate pain in your heel.

If you are experiencing chronic heel pain that is not going away, you may want to consult a qualified medical provider like a board certified orthopedic doctor for an evaluation and treatment options.