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Can a Pinched Sciatic Nerve Cause Heel Pain?

A pinched sciatic nerve can cause a severe burning sensation in the heel because of the compression of the L5-S1 nerve root. Find out how and how to treat it.

a man in a white shirt and blue and pink suspenders
By Babafemi Adebajo
Kirsty Macdougall - Editor for Upstep
Edited by Kirsty Macdougall

Published July 19, 2022.

Yes, a pinched sciatic nerve can cause heel pain. Most people think a compressed sciatic nerve will only cause back and leg pain. However, research shows that compression of the sciatic nerve at the L5-S1 nerve root will cause heel pain.

If sciatica is the cause of your heel pain, the pain may also radiate to other parts of the leg while you stand. The pain may be tingling, numbing, or burning around your heel. It may also be dull and present with muscle spasms and reduced reflexes.

How to Relieve Heel Pain Caused by Sciatica

A lot depends on an accurate diagnosis, as there are many possible causes of heel pain. Once you have arrived at a diagnosis of heel pain caused by sciatica, you should know that sciatica often resolves by itself. However, if the symptoms last longer than three months, here is a list of possible treatments to relieve the pain and symptoms:

  • Medication Anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and muscle relaxers can all be used to combat heel pain caused by sciatica.
  • Hot or cold compress for pain relief
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Low voltage electrical pulses promote pain relief and nerve healing.
  • Orthotic insoles You can use insoles for heel pain. They work by taking away the pressure on the foot and making walking more comfortable.
  • Physiotherapy A physiotherapist will work with you to relieve the compression by performing spinal manipulation, prescribing core strengthening exercises, training you on proper posturing, acupuncture, etc.

If the pain persists even after these interventions, please see a doctor. The timely intervention will promote quick recovery.