Managing Heel Pain

Managing Heel Pain with TCM

Pain at different areas of your heel may mean different things.

If the pain is on the bottom of your heel, it is likely to be Plantar Fasciitis.


If the pain is at the back of your heel, it is likely to be Achilles Tendinitis.


In short, the pain is due to inflammation of either ligament or tendon of your foot. Heel pain is a common foot condition and can affect anyone in all age groups. It can develop suddenly or gradually over time, and can affect only one or both feet.


  • Repetitive stress on heel (running, walking, standing or jumping excessively)
  • Wearing old or poorly fitted shoes
  • Overweight (increased pressure on heel)
  • Wearing high heels for prolonged period


  • In addition to pain, you may experience swelling and redness on affected areas
  • Pain is more severe in the morning when you take the first step off bed, or when you stand up after resting for a while
  • Difficulty in walking or restrictions in certain motions


Overtime without proper care and concern, a heel spur (calcium deposit) might develop on the underside of the heel bone. You may experience trouble walking or exercising as your tendon or heel bone becomes deformed. When conservative treatments fail, surgery might be needed.


A very large heel bone can form a spur-shaped protuberance,
which can be extremely painful

TCM View on Heel Pain

Stagnation of ‘Qi’ and Blood in certain channels (blockage)

This is the more common cause of heel pain, due to inappropriate movements causing repetitive stress and trauma to the heel. Over time, it causes stagnation of ‘Qi’ and Blood to channels in that area, causing pain (不通则痛). Exposure to excessive wind, cold and damp are also possible causes leading to stagnation of Qi and Blood in channels causing heel pain.

Kidney Weakness

In TCM theory, kidney dominates the bones and lower back, and kidney channel flows to the heel, covering most of the sole of our feet. When your kidney is weak, your heel is likely to be lacking in support and nourishment from kidney channels. You are thus, more prone to injury, wear and tear, and pain. This is most likely to affect people of an older age group with more symptoms such as lower back pain, easily tired and frequent urination at night.


  • Consultation: The physician will check your pulse, look at your tongue, identify signs and symptoms and give a diagnosis with TCM principles.
  • Acupuncture: Studies that were done found that acupuncture stimulates our body’s natural painkillers and relieve pain. It aids in the release of blocked channels (improving Qi and Blood stagnation).
  • Medication: It will be given based on the diagnosis of the physician to improve your foot and overall condition.

Article by Physician Vivian Lee

Note: Information provided is not a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. Individual symptoms differ due to different body constitutions and diagnosis. One should consult a licensed TCM practitioner for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

10 thoughts on “Managing Heel Pain with TCM”

  1. Avatar photo

    Hi, my son have this navicular bone accessory. He always felt pain during and after activity. Can acupuncture help relieve the pain?

  2. Avatar photo

    My condition is heel spur (骨刺) and not plantar. Does your clinic do removal of the 骨刺 instead of acupuncture?

    Or rather what is the clinic standard treatment on heel spur. I understand it is due to calcium deposit.

  3. Avatar photo

    I have seek treatment for achilles tendonitis at both of my heels with physio and podiatric or more than 3 years. Nothing has improved. I would like to consult and seek treatment from TCM.

    May i ask which clinic will be relevant to my problem for me to book an appointment?

  4. Avatar photo

    I had heel pain especially when I get up in the morning, exactly what I read in your website.Can I know how much you charge for consultation & treatment?
    Where is your clinic at Suntec?

    1. Avatar photo

      Hi Karkuzhali, thank you for getting in touch. Do you mind emailing us @ with more information:
      – Your preferred clinic: Wheelock Place, Great World or Suntec City
      – Your preferred date/time
      – Your contact number
      Thank you!

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