Heel pain is one of the most common complaints of patients that come into our Podiatry clinic in Point Cook and Yarraville. Heel pain is not specific to any type of person and can affect anyone from the most sedentary to the most active. It can be a big problem, as it can be a highly debilitating ailment to live with. There is a vast array of causes of heel pain, some of which include; plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, achilles pain, inappropriate footwear along with overuse and injury.
Heel pain is not a diagnosis in itself, if you have pain in your heel you should see a health care professional to ensure that you can return to activity as soon as possible. You can book an appointment online here
The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure which runs along the sole of the foot. Its role is to maintain and support the structure of the foot. When this fascia becomes inflamed or thickened it is known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain in adults.
Reasons that plantar fasciitis occurs include; feet which roll in, tight calves, inappropriate return to exercise (“too much too soon”), high arches, inappropriate footwear, trauma and many others. Plantar fasciitis may result in pain in the heel due to the pulling of the fascia on bony structures within the foot, as well as increased pressure from ground on the foot.
– Often described as a ‘stabbing’ pain under the heel and/ or arch of the foot
– Pain worse in the morning or with long periods of standing
– Pain can be worse with rest or exercise
– Plantar fasciitis (described below)
– Heel spurs (described below)
– Inappropriate footwear
– Sever’s disease (common in children/ adolescents)
Heel pain associated with heel spurs results from injury to soft tissue structures around the heel. Heel spurs are often described as a stabbing pain in the heel which may develop into a dull ache. This results from bony protrusions from the heel projecting into the surrounding structures causing damage and inflammation. Heel spurs are almost always asymptomatic but can become very painful and may even fracture.
Common risk factors for pain related to heel spurrs include high impact forces from the ground or trauma
Our podiatrists at TFC podiatry are well-experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of heel pain. It is important to seek medical assistance for this as treatment can be a huge relief and allow patients to go back to their usual daily activity pain-free! Based on what you tell us and what we can assess from your feet and gait, podiatrists can help determine the cause of the pain which is crucial to finding and providing the best treatment for each patient. In some cases, it may require imaging such as ultrasound or X-ray.
Change of footwear and support
Although heel pain is very common, the causes and treatments can vary. Every foot is different, and therefore the support that each individual receives must suit that foot. Whether the pain stems from structures such as arch height or is more to do with loading and biomechanics, it is important that each patient is given the correct control and support in order to appropriately and successfully prevent and treat injury. It is important to give suitable support in order to give injured structures the opportunity to heal and recover.
– Offer tailor made orthotics which are made to fit your exact foot and ankle structure and needs. This gives the required support for the foot to allow it to heal.
– Offer advice on appropriate footwear choices in order to support and cushion the injured plantar fascia to facilitate healing and prevent exacerbations.
– Dry needling, this helps with tightness in surrounding muscles and often provides pain relief
– Exercise and training advice in order to aid recovery and prevent exacerbations. For example, changes in activity types e.g. rehab programs to get you back to what you love, with as little downtime as possible