Step into Comfort: The Ultimate Guide to Heel Pain

Discover effective strategies and remedies for heel pain relief, ensuring comfort every step of the way.

Are you tired of suffering from constant heel pain that makes every step a struggle? Look no further, because in this ultimate guide, we will help you step into comfort and bid farewell to those nagging foot woes.

Heel pain can be debilitating, affecting your day-to-day activities and overall quality of life. Whether you’re an athlete, a busy professional on your feet all day, or simply someone who wants to enjoy pain-free walking, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve compiled the most effective and practical solutions to alleviate heel pain and provide long-lasting relief. From in-depth explanations of common causes like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, to a range of tried-and-tested treatment options, we’ve got the answers you need. So, say goodbye to discomfort and hello to walking on clouds with our comprehensive guide to heel pain relief.

What is Heel Pain?
What is Heel Pain?

Heel pain is a generic term for any pain you feel in, you guessed it, your heel. While it may be easy to determine your pain is in your heel, there can be a wide variety of causes, and treatment differs depending on the source.

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Your plantar fascia runs beneath the length of your foot, and when it gets inflamed or damaged you may start to feel a sharp, stabbing sensation in your heel. Plantar fasciitis is very common among runners and those who work on their feet, or anyone who suddenly ramps up their level of physical activity.

Another common cause of heel pain is Achilles tendonitis. Like Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that flares up commonly in runners or after an increase in workout intensity. Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel, so this kind of pain is commonly felt at the back of your heel or the base of your calf.

Other causes of heel pain can include bursitis, heel pad syndrome, calcaneal stress fractures, nerve damage, or simply trauma or bruising from an accident or misstep.

Woman wearing KURU ROAM shoes for heel pain.
Most Common Causes & Risk Factors
Most Common Causes & Risk Factors
  • Plantar Fasciitis
    This is the most common cause of heel pain, and it usually stems from overdoing things with exercise or other activities. A stabbing sensation in the heel is one symptom of plantar fasciitis, but you may feel pain in the ball of your foot or other places as well. The pain from plantar fasciitis is usually the most intense when you first stand up after being inactive, like first thing in the morning, standing up after sitting for hours, or at the end of a long drive.
    Plantar Fasciitis
  • Heel Spurs
    A heel spur is a lump of bone that sticks out from your heel. These growths don’t always cause pain, and treatments for plantar fasciitis often resolve heel pain without the need to remove a spur surgically. If the spur can be felt through the skin or is sensitive to contact, it’s more likely to be the cause of pain and require surgical treatment.
    Heel Spurs
  • Achilles Tendonitis
    Achilles tendonitis is another type of overuse injury common among runners, or adults who are sedentary during the week but active on weekends. Your Achilles tendon attaches on your lower calf and connects to your heel, and when it gets irritated or inflamed you will feel pain at the back of your heel.
    Achilles Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
    Many of your joints have small sacks of fluid around them called bursa to support movement and reduce friction. When these get inflamed they can cause pain, and your heels are a common site for this issue. Like many types of heel pain, bursitis is generally an overuse injury.
  • Trauma & Injury
    Your heels make regular contact with the ground as you stand, walk, run and jump. From sprains and strains to broken bones, sometimes heel pain is as simple as a one-time injury. A fracture may feel painful enough that you notice it right away, but sometimes a mild sprain or strain starts small and gets worse when not treated.
    Trauma & Injury
Facts and Stats

Facts and Stats

We take a look at some facts and stats you might not have known about heel pain. Read on to find out more!

  • The majority of adults in the United States will experience foot pain at some time in their lives (77 percent!), but only about a third will see a podiatrist about it.
  • Half of all adults in the US say foot pain has limited their activities, like walking or exercising.
  • The heel is the largest bone in your foot.
  • The heel pain experienced by many growing children is commonly known as Sever’s disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis and Treatment

Proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment of heel pain. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe heel pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional who specializes in foot and ankle conditions. They will conduct a thorough examination of your foot, review your medical history, and may order additional tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to identify the underlying cause of your heel pain.

Once the cause of your heel pain has been determined, appropriate treatment options can be recommended. The treatment approach will depend on the specific condition causing the pain, as well as the severity of the symptoms.

Remember, the appropriate treatment option for your heel pain will depend on the underlying cause, so it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

  • Rest and Ice
    Resting the affected foot and applying ice packs can help reduce pain and inflammation. It’s important to avoid activities that worsen the pain, such as high-impact exercises or prolonged standing.
    Rest and Ice
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for heel pain. A physical therapist can design a customized exercise program to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the foot, which can help alleviate pain and improve mobility.
    Physical Therapy
  • Orthotic Devices
    Orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or heel cups, can provide support and cushioning to the foot, relieving pressure on the affected area. They can be particularly beneficial for individuals with plantar fasciitis or flat feet.
    Orthotic Devices
  • Medications
    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with heel pain. However, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication, as they can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Steroid Injections
    In some cases, a healthcare professional may recommend a corticosteroid injection to help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from heel pain. These injections are usually administered directly into the affected area.
    Steroid Injections
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
    ESWT is a non-invasive treatment option that uses shockwaves to stimulate the healing process in the affected area. This therapy has been found to be effective in relieving heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis in some individuals.
    Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
  • Surgery
    Surgery is usually considered as a last resort when other conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief. Surgical procedures for heel pain vary depending on the underlying cause and may involve removing bone spurs, repairing damaged tendons, or releasing tight ligaments or fascia.
Preventing Heel Pain
Preventing Heel Pain

Prevention is key when it comes to heel pain. By taking proactive measures, you can reduce the risk of developing common conditions that cause heel pain. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  • Wear Proper Footwear
    Choose shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for your feet. Look for shoes with arch support, shock-absorbing soles, and a wide toe box. Avoid high heels or shoes with thin soles, as they can increase the risk of developing heel pain.
    Wear Proper Footwear
  • Gradual Increase in Activity
    If you’re starting a new exercise program or increasing your activity level, do it gradually. Sudden changes in activity can put excessive stress on your feet and increase the risk of developing heel pain.
    Gradual Increase in Activity
  • Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
    Incorporate stretching and strengthening exercises into your daily routine to keep your feet and calf muscles flexible and strong. This can help prevent common causes of heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis.
    Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
    Excess weight can put additional pressure on your feet and increase the risk of developing heel pain. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help reduce the strain on your feet.
    Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Proper Foot Care
    Take care of your feet by keeping them clean and dry. Trim your toenails regularly and avoid wearing tight shoes that can cause friction or pressure on your feet.
    Proper Foot Care
Exercises and Stretches
Exercises and Stretches for Relieving Heel Pain

Exercises and stretches can help improve the flexibility and strength of your feet, reduce muscle imbalances, and alleviate heel pain. It’s important to perform them regularly and consult a healthcare professional if you experience any pain or discomfort during the exercises.

  • Plantar Fascia Stretch
    Sit on a chair and cross one foot over the opposite knee. Using your hand, gently pull your toes back towards your shin until you feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each foot.
    Plantar Fascia Stretch
  • Calf Stretch
    Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other. Keep the back leg straight and the front knee slightly bent. Lean forward towards the wall, keeping both heels on the ground. You should feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.
    Calf Stretch
  • Towel Scrunches
    Place a small towel on the floor and place your foot on top of it. Using your toes, scrunch the towel towards you, then release. Repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.
    Towel Scrunches
  • Ankle Circles
    Sit on a chair and extend one leg out in front of you. Rotate your ankle clockwise for 10 seconds, then switch to counterclockwise for another 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 3 times on each foot.
    Ankle Circles
  • What are the best shoes for heel pain?

    The best shoes for heel pain are those that provide excellent cushioning and support to the heel area. Look for shoes with features like ample arch support, shock absorption, and a well-cushioned heel counter.

  • How do shoes affect heel pain?

    Shoes play a crucial role in heel pain management. Properly cushioned shoes with good arch support and heel stability help distribute the pressure evenly, reduce strain on the heel, and provide shock absorption. Well-fitted shoes can also improve foot alignment and promote a more natural gait, alleviating heel pain caused by conditions like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.

  • Can wearing improper shoes worsen heel pain?

    Wearing improper shoes can indeed worsen heel pain. Shoes without sufficient cushioning or arch support can increase pressure on the heel, exacerbating conditions like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Ill-fitting shoes that cause friction or restrict natural foot movement can also contribute to heel pain and discomfort.

  • What types of footwear should I avoid if I have heel pain?

    If you have heel pain, it’s best to avoid footwear that lacks proper support and cushioning. Avoid high heels, flats with minimal padding, flip-flops, and shoes with thin soles. These types of footwear can strain the heel and aggravate existing heel conditions. Opt for shoes specifically designed for heel pain relief instead.

  • Are orthotic insoles recommended for heel pain?

    Yes, orthotic insoles are often recommended for heel pain. These customized or over-the-counter inserts can provide additional arch support, cushioning, and proper alignment for the feet. Orthotic insoles help redistribute pressure away from the heel, relieving pain caused by conditions like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.

  • How should the shoes fit to alleviate heel pain?

    To alleviate heel pain, shoes should fit properly. Ensure the shoes have a snug but comfortable fit with no excessive tightness or pressure points. The shoes should have ample toe box room, good arch support, and a secure heel counter. Properly fitted shoes help stabilize the foot, reduce strain on the heel, and promote better alignment.

  • Are there any exercises or stretches that can complement wearing proper shoes for heel pain relief?

    Yes, there are exercises and stretches that can complement wearing proper shoes for heel pain relief. Some effective ones include calf stretches, plantar fascia stretches, toe stretches, and Achilles tendon stretches. Strengthening exercises for the feet and lower legs, such as toe curls and calf raises, can also help improve foot stability and alleviate heel pain.

  • Can heel pain be a sign of a more serious condition?

    Yes, heel pain can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. While common causes like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs are often responsible for heel pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional if the pain persists or worsens. They can evaluate the condition and determine if further examination or treatment is necessary to rule out underlying issues like stress fractures or nerve problems.

According to KURU’s 2023 Foot Pain Trends Report, heel pain emerged as the most prevalent form of foot pain reported at 58%, highlighting its significance as the primary foot discomfort experienced by individuals.

Explore the latest foot pain trends, common causes of pain, treatment and prevention plans for maintained foot health in our 2023 Foot Pain Trends Report!
Trending Articles
Key Considerations Before Making Your Purchase
How to Choose Shoes for Heel Pain

Choosing the right footwear is essential for heel pain relief and prevention. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect pair of shoes:

  • Arch Support
    Look for shoes that provide adequate arch support. This can help distribute your body weight evenly and reduce stress on your feet. Shoes with built-in arch support or removable insoles can be beneficial for individuals with flat feet or high arches.
    Arch Support
  • Cushioning
    Shoes with cushioned soles can provide shock absorption and reduce the impact on your feet when walking or running. Look for shoes with thick, cushioned soles or consider adding cushioned insoles for extra comfort.
  • Heel Support
    Opt for shoes with a firm heel counter, which provides stability and support for your heels. This can help prevent excessive pronation or supination, which can contribute to heel pain.
    Heel Support
  • Activity-specific Shoes
    Consider wearing activity-specific shoes if you engage in sports or activities that involve repetitive movements of the feet. These shoes are designed to provide the necessary support and cushioning for specific activities, reducing the risk of developing heel pain.
    Activity-specific Shoes
Three Layers of Support
Three Layers of Support

At KURU, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to shoe design. We believe that shoes should be shaped to fit the natural contours of your feet, which is why we create every pair in three distinct support layers, not just an insole.

Our revolutionary ergonomic design starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support that includes shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES. The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.








Our patented KURUSOLE technology is a game changer when it comes to heel pain. You have a pillow of fat beneath your heel called a fat pad, and this natural cushion can wear down over time.

Unlike anything else, KURUSOLE hugs your heels as you walk to reduce impact and protect your heel. Even better, this flexing action contains your fat pad to maximize your natural cushion and protect it from wear and tear.

Fine, We’ll Tell You Our Secret
Why Others Love KURU

Why Others Love KURU

View More

View More

Fantastic! I bought these because I have plantar fasciitis in both feet and one foot has a heel spur. These sneakers are excellent, I can now walk comfortable again and no pain. I just wish I had known of this company before. I will be buying all my sneakers from them. Great fit from the first day and I didn’t even have to wear them in. They were also a true fit on the size.”


Amazing comfort. I have severe foot and heel pain and these shoes are the most comfortable that I own. I can now walk longer than I have been able to in close to a year.”


Best shoe for heel pain. I am a nurse. Developed severe heel pain from bone spur and plantar fasciitis. Used every insole available. Bought shoes that didn’t help. Was VERY Leary to try these, but thank God I did!!! After a few days, NO PAIN! Highly recommend. I am ordering another pair.”

Happy in Illinois

Awesome every day shoe. Already after just two weeks my heel pain is gone would highly recommend.”

Dado P

Pain relief accomplished. I have been wearing a shoe recommended for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs with a little relief but by the end of the day my feet hurt. I tried these Kuru Atoms and OMG what a huge relief. I don’t want to take them off. They do not compare and I wear them all day. I have purchased 2 more pair and all I can say is THANK YOU!!!!”


Recommended Shoes for Heel Pain

Sign Up for Our Newsletter





Stay informed on the latest in foot health and wellness. Gain access to advanced foot care knowledge and receive tips for healthy feet from our team of experts.





You’re Subscribed