Top 6 Causes of a Burning Type of Pain in the Heels

“Burning pain in the heel can be an array of problems,” says Joseph Ciccone DPT, CSCS, a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning coach with ColumbiaDoctors in New York, NY.

Plantar Fasciitis

The first up is, not surprisingly, plantar fasciitis, a more common cause of burning in the heel, says Ciccone.

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He adds that plantar fasciitis can be caused by “running on hard surfaces, not changing running path/route frequently, not changing shoe wear when it is appropriate, changing running pattern, i.e., switching to a forefoot runner without proper staged progressions, not having appropriate shoe wear or support.”


Shutterstock/Motortion FilmsObesity is another cause of plantar fasciitis, along with “playing sports where you need a lot of foot push-off — example basketball, racquet sports, runners — starting an exercise program without proper guidance; example: starting too aggressively.”

Achilles Problems

The third possible cause of burning heel pain is Achilles tendonitis/tendonopathy.

Shutterstock/Sebastian Kaulitzki

Ciccone explains, “Many people are over-pronators and need support to correct foot abnormalities, which can cause stress on plantar fascia and/or Achilles tendon — an example of this would be someone with forefoot varus (bone alignment abnormality in the toes).”

Over-pronation refers to rolling the inside part of the foot inward as you walk or run.

Haglund’s Deformity

The fourth possible cause of burning pain in the heels is that of Haglund’s deformity, a protruding or enlarged area on the back of the heel bone.

Arch Problems

No.5 is a pes planus (flat foot) or pes cavus (high arch).

Tight Calves


The sixth likely cause of a burning sensation in the heel would be tight calf muscles — those of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

Tightness in these muscles can actually lead to plantar fasciitis.

Joseph Ciccone’s practice focuses on numerous musculoskeletal conditions, including management of chronic and acute injuries, and surgical rehabilitation. 
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/catinsyrup

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