Because it is the largest bone in the foot and also home to a large network of tendons, the heel can become the host of a number of foot related problems. Heel pain can have multiple causes because of the above fact. One such cause is known as plantar fasciitis which is a condition in which the tight tissue that makes up the arch of the foot becomes inflamed and irritated. This condition is caused by an overabundance of stress being placed upon the tissue. Those who are highly athletic, i.e. runners, commonly experience plantar fasciitis, also those with a high body mass index also tend to be susceptible to this condition. Treatments for this condition range from massage/stretching to surgery depending on the severity.
A second cause of heel pain could be the result of a heel spur. Heel spurs occur, also when a heel is subjected to a constant stress. This stress causes calcium deposits to build on the botton of the bone and as these deposits build onto each other they eventually form a spur-shaped deformity on the bottom of the heel which will then cause pain to the surrounding areas of the heel any time pressure is placed upon it. Treatments for this condition mainly rely on strengthening the calves and legs as well as using orthotic inserts, obtaining better shoes and changing exercise habits which should in turn remove stress from the heel, allowing the condition to heal itself.
Other forms of heel pain can come from stress fractures to the heel bone itself, or even a condition known as tarsal tunnel syndrome wherein a large nerve in the foot becomes entrapped or pinched. These two symptoms have a similar cure which includes rest, adequate muscle stretching and strengthening of the muscles in the foot to reduce the chances of receiving a stress injury. In any instances of heel pain, it is recommended to see a podiatrist to obtain a diagnosis on the cause of the pain since these causes can be many and varied.