Understanding Posterior Heel Pain

Understanding Posterior Heel Pain

Posterior heel pain, often referred to as pain at the back of the heel, can be a debilitating condition affecting many individuals. This article delves into the various causes of posterior heel pain and explores treatment options and preventive measures.

Causes of Posterior Heel Pain

Posterior heel pain can arise from several factors, including:

  1. Achilles Tendinitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone, can cause pain and stiffness at the back of the heel.

  2. Haglund's Deformity: This condition involves a bony growth at the back of the heel bone, leading to discomfort and irritation, particularly when rubbing against footwear.

  3. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Compression or entrapment of the tibial nerve running down the back of the ankle can result in heel and foot pain and numbness.

  4. Bursitis: Irritation of the bursa, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints, behind the heel can cause pain and swelling.

  5. Pump Bump: Occurs when the back of the heel repeatedly rubs against the rear of a shoe, causing swelling and discomfort.


It's essential to recognize the symptoms of posterior heel pain, including:

  • Severe pain or swelling at the back of the heel
  • Reluctance to put weight on the affected foot
  • Tingling or numbness in the heel or foot
  • Cold or fever, which may indicate a more serious condition requiring medical attention

Managing Posterior Heel Pain

If you're experiencing posterior heel pain, several measures can help manage symptoms:

  • Rest: Give your injured foot adequate rest to reduce discomfort and swelling.
  • Ice Therapy: Apply ice packs wrapped in a towel to the affected area to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Stretching: Perform gentle stretches for the Achilles tendon and calf muscles to ease discomfort and tension.
  • Footwear: Opt for comfortable shoes with adequate support, avoiding those with hard backs or high heels.
  • Orthotics: Custom orthotic inserts can provide additional support and cushioning for the affected foot.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation.


To prevent posterior heel pain, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts undue strain on the feet, increasing the risk of heel discomfort.
  • Choose appropriate footwear: Select shoes that offer comfort and support while avoiding those with rigid backs or high heels.
  • Gradual training: Increase exercise intensity gradually to prevent overuse injuries like Achilles tendonitis.
  • Regular stretching: Stretch the calf muscles and Achilles tendon before and after exercise to reduce injury risk.
  • Cross-training: Incorporate a variety of physical activities to prevent overuse injuries and reduce the risk of posterior heel pain.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and management strategies for posterior heel pain, individuals can take proactive steps to alleviate discomfort and maintain optimal foot health.

Back to blog

Featured collection