Born at Worsborough Dale, near Barnsley, Yorkshire, inside or outside left Frank Heppinstall began his football career with local side Felkirk and played for Midland League club Denaby United in 1902, from where he was signed by hometown Second Division club Barnsley in March 1904, making his Football League debut at centre forward against Gainsborough Trinity that September, scoring in a 2-1 victory. It proved his only goal for The Tykes in 10 matches, all at inside left, before the year end, and he returned to Denaby United in the 1905 close season.
Heppinstall signed for Southern League club Swindon Town in 1907 and although a fringe player in their 1907-08 campaign, making only 9 appearances, he was far more regular in 1908-09, scoring 3 goals in a further 24 matches, and caught the eye of First Division club Woolwich Arsenal, who signed him in May 1909. He made his top flight debut for The Gunners at Aston Villa that September at outside left and enjoyed an extended run in the first team from February through to April 1910 as Arsenal avoided relegation, finishing 18th in the First Division.
However he made only 5 more appearances during the first half of their 1910-11 campaign before being released in the summer of 1911 after 23 appearances for Arsenal, whereupon he joined Lancashire Combination club Stalybridge Celtic, where he spent two seasons before a move to Scotland when he moved to Hamilton Academical in 1913, joining them along with Celtic team mate Alf Smith. He scored once in 32 appearances for The Accies during a single season at Douglas Park, however it proved his final professional club before leaving the game.