Heel Pain: Bursitis

September is heel pain month. There are many causes of heel pain including stress fractures, tendonitis, bursitis, nerve entrapment, and tendon tear. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of these.


There are small sacs of fluid throughout the body called bursae. These sacs exist where muscles and tendons slide across bone. A properly functioning bursae will help your body function smoothly, but occasionally these bursae can become inflamed which makes movement painful. The constant use of muscles that rub over the inflamed bursae can cause even more inflammation and make the problem worse.

Can you guess what the main symptom of bursitis is? Pain! This could be minor pain that causes small aches after repetitive use or it could be sudden sharp pain. Pain is usually worse when you press on the affected area and you may see redness and swelling.

There are many things that can lead to bursitis. Some of the most common include repeated minor impact of the same area or a sudden trauma to the area. There are secondary factors that can contribute, such as inflammatory diseases, gout, and even simple things like not stretching before exercising.

When this pain persists for a week or more, stops and then comes back, or is interfering with your daily activities, you need to make an appointment to see your podiatrist. Your podiatrist may take x-rays to rule out other causes of heel pain or order blood work to pinpoint the spot of inflammation.

Don’t be shy about heel pain. There are plenty of causes, but pain is never normal and is not likely to go away one it’s own. Stay tuned for info on the other causes of heel pain.