Weird Foot / Heel Nerve Pain

I’m not sure if this is an injury or a “condition” because there seems to be no incident or external source I can point to that has caused me the pain I’m currently going through. I think it might just be something that is happening independent of anything I have done. My main question is what I can do about it going forward, although of course if I did cause this in some way I would love to know so that I don’t do it again.

heel_nerve_painThe pain is on the interior of my right heel (see red dot on diagram to the right). It is not in the ankle. It is not inside my foot, but close to the surface, although not on the surface of the skin. It feels as though it is just under the surface of the skin.

The pain does not appear to be triggered by movement, nor can I make it go away through movement. Pressing in the area does not trigger the pain nor help it go away. I have had the pain while sitting down and while standing up. If it happens while I’m sitting down and I stand up and start walking it doesn’t go away and vice versa, although it’s a bit hard to measure since it generally comes and goes so quickly. I will say that I do not recall having the pain while running or doing any highly-physical activity.

The pain is definitely nerve related. It is an electrical shock type of pain. It is quite strong, but bearable because it is very brief. It never last longer than half a second, although I might feel it several times within a few seconds. It tends to pulse. It’s timing is very similar to a muscle spasm. You know how sometimes a muscle in your arm or leg will start jumping, and you can look at it and it’s just jumping along by itself? That’s similar to how this pain comes and goes, except muscle spasms seem to be fairly consistent in their timing whereas this is not. Whereas a muscle spams might follow a beep-beep-beep-beep-beep type of rhythm, this pain is a beep-beep-buh-beep-buh-beep-beep-buh-beep-buh-beep-buh-buh-beep, etc. In between each “beep” there is zero pain. That is, it hurts a ton for half a second, is 100% gone for half a second, and then 100% hurting for half a second.

Sometimes an “episode” will last for a few seconds. However, as of yesterday I have been having more episodes and the episodes are lasting substantially longer. I would say I’ve been having an episode the entire time I’ve been writing this post, although some of the pauses have been up to a minute.

If I had to guess, I’d say that a very small muscle has somehow become attached to a nerve, and when that muscle spasms it triggers the nerve pain. But the muscle is so small that I don’t feel the actually muscle doing anything. That’s what it seems like, but I don’t know if that’s even possible. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like this.

The good part is that since the pain is not motion dependent it is not debilitating per se, except that the pain is so strong and intense that it makes me want to tear my shoe and sock off and grind a screwdriver into my heel to see if that will stop the pain, it doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I can bike, run, and swim just fine. Even though the pain is intense I treat it like an itch–it’s annoying, but I can ignore it for the most part. Anyway, maybe I’ll figure it out someday. I just hope it doesn’t get any worse. Sometimes the pain is so bad that it feels as though my entire body is getting an electric shock and I’ll get goosebumps. Just happened right now again. Ouch. I’m about ready to go have someone just kill this nerve, whatever it is.

  • Pauline


    I was up all night with pains like this. Every time I went to sleep it would start again. Thanks heaps for your prefect description of it. Please let me know if you found out any thing else about it. Thanks yeaps

  • Joshua

    You know, I just realized after reading your comment that my foot pain has gone away. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it disappeared, but I think it was a month or two ago. In fact, it seems like it coincides with me starting to bike again…maybe. Rats, that’s the trouble with pain like this–you don’t notice when it’s gone because it’s already intermittent.

  • Andy

    Pauline and Joshua –

    Did you ever get a diagnosis for your pain? I have it now and it is a bit scary. Any tips to help reduce/correct?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Sara

    I just had this exact pain, bottom of my left heel, totally out of the blue while sitting doing nothing! Electrifying – and if it lasted more than seconds I would have passed out. Repeating Andy – anyone ever find out what this is or what to do about it???


  • David Moss

    I have this to. Its a never that some how got caught between a muscle .its pinching ur nerve. I checked everything but found nothing on it yet.