ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have intermittent heel pain in only one foot?

Question

Why do I have intermittent heel pain in only one foot?

I'm a 52 yr old female with no previous foot problems of any kind. Recently in the past few months, I have barely been able to walk at times on my left foot because the heel is so sore. It seems to get better and loosen up a little as I continue walking. Sometimes, as I am getting out of bed in the morning, I can hardly stand to put any weight on that foot at all, it's too painful. I've tried gel inserts in my shoes and this doesn't seem to help. I'm wondering if this is a heelspur and what else I can do to treat it.

Answer

This sounds like a troubling condition. There are a few potential causes which should be investigated. I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor to have this evaluated and hopefully treated. If required, he or she may refer you to a podiatrist (a foot specialist) for further treatment. Your symptoms sounds classic for a condition known as plantar fascitis. Plantar fascitis is inflammation of a structure in the bottom of the foot known as that plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a fibrous connective tissue that runs from the heel bone (the calcaneous) on the bottom of the foot toward the toes. This becomes inflamed in some people, and results in pain, often on the bottom of the foot by the heel. It is often worse in the morning. As for your question regarding a heelspur -- its possible. A heel spur is an outgrowth of the bone (of the calcaneous). Often people who develop heel spurs on the bottom of their foot are more likely to get plantar fascitis. The heel spur itself is not painful, but the inflammation it causes on the plantar fascia can be. Talk to your doctor. There are many treatments available. A podiatrist can also help. Good luck!

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