Ask a Doc: Heel"ing" Foot Pain

March 24, 2016

Dear Doctor:

I am having pain in the back of my foot located at my heel, I am an active person, and this seems to be slowing me down. Can you help me?

Dear Reader:

Thank you for writing and for your question. Pain in the back of the heel can mean a number of different things however, there is one particular structure of the foot that is usually the main cause for pain in this area. The Achilles Tendon is usually responsible for pain in the back of the foot and heel. I see this quite often in my practice in patients that are active.

My recommendation for this is to schedule an office visit to have this pain evaluated. Pain in this area can mean different issues with the tendon, bone or both. A very common finding is Achilles Tendonitis, which is inflammation of the Achilles Tendon. This can occur in response to overuse of the tendon. This can present as sharp, stabbing, or even burning pain to the heel or back of the leg.

In some patients, the Achilles Tendon has a small bump that can be felt with in the tendon. Scar tissue can build up in the Achilles Tendon in response to chronic overuse, inflammation, or even injury. This is called Achilles Tendinitis. It can be a recurrent issue, and is something that needs to be evaluated to optimize function and decrease pain.

Some patients complain of a bump in the back of their heel with pain. Bone spurs can occur where the Achilles Tendon inserts into the heel bone (calcaneus). These bone spurs can become larger over a period of time, and can cause tendon inflammation and irritation. The term "Haglund's Deformity" is used to describe bone spurring in the back of the calcaneus.

Treatment options differ according to the type of pathology that is occurring in the foot and ankle. My recommendation of the have the pain evaluated by a specialist (podiatrist, foot and ankle surgeon), and undergo treatment to ensure that you can have a quick return to activities, and prevent further injuries in the future. With the spring upon us, it is important to have issues such as this resolved so that you can be active and worry free this summer.

Thank you once again for your question,


Dr. Paul Stasko, DPM


Paul Stasko, DPM, a foot and ankle surgeon, earned his medical degree from Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and completed his residency training at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In addition, he completed a Foot and Ankle Fellowship at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics, International Center for Limb Lengthening at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Stasko sees patients at Finger Lakes Bone and Joint in Newark and Geneva, is a member of the Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic Wound Care Team and performs surgeries at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.