Leg and heel pain can hinder a person's mobility and cause a lot of pain 1. There can many reasons for pain in the leg and the heel, some injuries will need medical care while other injuries will heal with home treatment. If the person experiences severe pain or the injury does not get better in a few days, the person should seek medical care.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The Achilles tendon connects the back of the calf muscle in the leg to the heel and helps a person walk and rise up on their toes. When the Achilles tendon ruptures, it is stretched beyond its normal capability. The rupture can be a partial tear or a complete tear. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the Achilles tendon can rupture from jumping, pivoting, accelerations in running and over-stretching 12. Signs and symptoms include sudden pain in the heel and the lower leg, swelling between the lower leg and heel and difficulty walking. Treatment includes icing the injury, elevating the heel and leg above the person's heart and wearing an elastic bandage.
- The Achilles tendon connects the back of the calf muscle in the leg to the heel and helps a person walk and rise up on their toes.
- According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the Achilles tendon can rupture from jumping, pivoting, accelerations in running and over-stretching 1.
How to Stop the Pain of a Jammed Big Toe
A stress fracture is a tiny break or breaks in the bone caused by overuse, such as long distance running 3. People with osteoporosis may also develop stress fractures. Stress fractures generally occur in the lower leg or foot, where all the weight of a person is placed. According to MayoClinic.com, signs and symptoms of a stress fracture can include pain, swelling and the injured site may feel tender to the touch 3. Treatment includes taking acetaminophen to relieve pain, a doctor may recommend that a person wear a walking boot, brace or use crutches to keep weight off the foot.
The plantar fascia is a tendon that connects the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this tendon becomes irritated and inflamed. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, plantar fasciitis is caused by the structure of the foot 12. People with flat feet or those who have high arches are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. However, those who are obese may also develop plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain in the heel, especially in the morning. Treatment includes stretching, not going barefoot, wearing supportive shoes, applying ice and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
- The plantar fascia is a tendon that connects the heel to the toes.
- Plantar fasciitis occurs when this tendon becomes irritated and inflamed.
How to Stop the Pain of a Jammed Big Toe
Causes of Red Swollen Feet & Ankles
How to Wrap Achilles Tendon
Heel Stress Fracture Symptoms
A Pinched Nerve in the Foot
How to Compression Wrap a Foot
How to Take Blood Pressure in Legs
What Are the Causes of a Throbbing Pain in the Thigh Area?
Symptoms of a Blood Clot in Groin Area
Symptoms of Bone Spur in the Foot
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Heel Pain
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: Achilles Rupture
- MayoClinic.com: Stress Fracture
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (2017). Heel Pain. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/heel-pain
- Tu P, Bytomski JR. Diagnosis of Heel Pain. Am Fam Physician. 2011 Oct 15;84(8):909-16. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1015/p909.html
- Tu P, Bytomski JR. Diagnosis of heel pain. Am Fam Physician. 2011;84(8):909-16.
- Lim AT, How CH, Tan B. Management of plantar fasciitis in the outpatient setting. Singapore Med J. 2016;57(4):168-70. doi:10.11622/smedj.2016069
- Li HY, Hua YH. Achilles Tendinopathy: Current Concepts about the Basic Science and Clinical Treatments. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:6492597. doi:10.1155/2016/6492597
- Gulati V, Jaggard M, Al-nammari SS, et al. Management of achilles tendon injury: A current concepts systematic review. World J Orthop. 2015;6(4):380-6. doi:10.5312/wjo.v6.i4.380
- Hong CH, Lee YK, Won SH, Lee DW, Moon SI, Kim WJ. Tarsal tunnel syndrome caused by an uncommon ossicle of the talus: A case report. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018;97(25):e11008. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000011008
- Mayer SW, Joyner PW, Almekinders LC, Parekh SG. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle in athletes. Sports Health. 2014;6(6):481-91. doi:10.1177/1941738113486588
- Tu P. Heel Pain: Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2018;97(2):86-93.
- Yi TI, Lee GE, Seo IS, Huh WS, Yoon TH, Kim BR. Clinical characteristics of the causes of plantar heel pain. Ann Rehabil Med. 2011;35(4):507-13. doi:10.5535/arm.2011.35.4.507
- Kucuksen S, Karahan AY, Erol K. Haglund syndrome with pump bump. Med Arch. 2012;66(6):425-7.
- Vaishya R, Agarwal AK, Azizi AT, Vijay V. Haglund's Syndrome: A Commonly Seen Mysterious Condition. Cureus. 2016;8(10):e820. doi:10.7759/cureus.820
- Pękala PA, Henry BM, Pękala JR, Piska K, Tomaszewski KA. The Achilles tendon and the retrocalcaneal bursa: An anatomical and radiological study. Bone Joint Res. 2017;6(7):446-451. doi:10.1302/2046-3758.67.BJR-2016-0340.R1
- Helgeson K. Examination and intervention for sinus tarsi syndrome. N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2009;4(1):29-37.
- Ma DL, Vano-galvan S. Piezogenic pedal papules. CMAJ. 2013;185(18):E847. doi:10.1503/cmaj.121963
- Fritz JM, Mcdonald JR. Osteomyelitis: approach to diagnosis and treatment. Phys Sportsmed. 2008;36(1):nihpa116823. doi:10.3810/psm.2008.12.11
- Yan L, Zong J, Chu J, et al. Primary tumours of the calcaneus. Oncol Lett. 2018;15(6):8901-8914. doi:10.3892/ol.2018.8487
- Narváez JA, Narváez J, Ortega R, Aguilera C, Sánchez A, Andía E. Painful heel: MR imaging findings. Radiographics. 2000;20(2):333-52. doi:10.1148/radiographics.20.2.g00mc09333
- Thomas JL, Christensen JC, Kravitz SR, et al. The diagnosis and treatment of heel pain: a clinical practice guideline-revision 2010. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2010;49(3 Suppl):S1-19. doi:10.1053/j.jfas.2010.01.001
- Noor S, Khan RU, Ahmad J. Understanding Diabetic Foot Infection and its Management. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2017;11(2):149-156. doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2016.06.023
- Lui E. Systemic causes of heel pain. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2010;27(3):431-41. doi:10.1016/j.cpm.2010.04.004
- Podolsky R, Kalichman L. Taping for plantar fasciitis. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2015;28(1):1-6. doi:10.3233/BMR-140485
- Habets B, Van cingel REH, Backx FJG, Huisstede BMA. Alfredson versus Silbernagel exercise therapy in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017;18(1):296. doi:10.1186/s12891-017-1656-4
- Riskowski J, Dufour AB, Hannan MT. Arthritis, foot pain and shoe wear: current musculoskeletal research on feet. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2011;23(2):148-55. doi:10.1097/BOR.0b013e3283422cf5
- Donley BG, Moore T, Sferra J, Gozdanovic J, Smith R. The efficacy of oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) in the treatment of plantar fasciitis: a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled study. Foot Ankle Int. 2007;28(1):20-3. doi:10.3113/FAI.2007.0004
- Sahu RL. Percutaneous planter fasciitis release under local anesthesia: A prospective study. Chin J Traumatol. 2017;20(2):87-89. doi:10.1016/j.cjtee.2017.01.002
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (2017). Heel Pain.
- Buchbinder R. (2018). Patient education: Heel and foot pain (caused by plantar fasciitis) (Beyond the Basics). Isaac Z, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Lareau CR, Sawyer G, Wang JH, DiGiovanni CW. Plantar and medial heel pain: diagnosis and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2014 Jun;22(6):372-80. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-22-06-372
- Ma DL, Vano-Galvan S. Piezogenic pedal papules. CMAJ. 2013 Dec 10;185(18):E847. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.121963
- Tu P, Bytomski JR. Diagnosis of Heel Pain. Am Fam Physician. 2011 Oct 15;84(8):909-16.
- Vaishya R, Agarwal AK, Azizi AT, Vijay V. Haglund's Syndrome: A Commonly Seen Mysterious Condition. Cureus. 2016 Oct;8(10):e820. doi: 10.7759/cureus.820
Janelle Vaesa received her Master of Public Health degree in 2008 and Bachelor of Science in health and human performance in 2006, both from the University of Louisville. Vaesa has worked in a variety of settings, focusing on improving the health of clients. Vaesa began running in 2000 and in 2005 began racing in triathlons.