A sharp shooting pain in the heel of the foot heel pain is usually caused by plantar fasciitis or heel spur syndrome. Other conditions that cause heel pain include arthritis, nerve aggravation, tendonitis, stress fractures, or sometimes a cyst. Your doctor at the Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Jersey will assess the foot, ankle, and lower leg to diagnose the exact cause of the pain is.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the tendons and fascia that connects the heel to the ball of the foot. When this ligament is irritated or inflamed, it swells and tightens causing a stabbing pain in the heel. It may affect one or both feet and is typically worse in the morning, gradually releasing during the day as the foot moves and the tendons relax. The injury is generally caused by excess pressure on the foot from repetitive motions such as running, standing for prolonged periods of time, or being overweight.
Heel spurs are another common cause of pain in a person’s heels. Heel spurs develop when calcium deposits accumulate on the bottom of the heel bone, creating a bony protuberance. While a heel spur doesn’t always cause pain, many patients find that the spur is accompanied by the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. The calcium accumulation that causes heel spurs usually takes place over several months. The buildup is usually caused by straining the muscles and ligaments of the feet, overextending of the plantar fascia, and tearing of the sheath that surrounds the heel bone. For example, athletes who participate in sports that require jumping and running frequently have a greater chance of developing a heel spur. Also, anyone who spends a large amount of time of their feet, are overweight, have diabetes, and those who put a lot of stress on the heel bone are also more likely to develop a heel spur.