Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis
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Are you suffering from heel pain?
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and also the most common condition presenting to our clinic. Every day we see between five and ten cases of this condition. That being said, it is a very complex condition that needs to be correctly diagnosed and treated specific to each person.
The Plantar Fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot which runs from the heel to the base of the toes. When placed under increased stress, the Plantar Fascia can stretch and tear, resulting in degeneration of this tissue, particularly at its insertion into the heel bone.
In some cases, the pain is also felt in the arch. The tears are soon covered by scar tissue, which is less flexible than the fascia and hence aggravate the problem. Continuous straining of the fascia at the heel bone may eventually lead to the development of bony growth on the heel (heel spur).
In majority of cases of Plantar Fasciitis, the heel spur is NOT the cause of the pain. The pain is due to the degeneration and weakening of the soft tissue (Plantar Fascia), regardless of whether a heel spur is present or not.
Other less common causes of heel pain
- Plantar fascial tear
- Plantar fascial fibromatosis, also known as Ledderhose's disease
- Plantar Calcaneal nerve entrapment syndrome
- Insertional Achilles tendonopathy/ enthesopathy/ Haglunds deformity
The foot doctors at Pioneer Podiatry are trained foot specialists that can diagnose and treat all the above conditions.
What does it feel like to have plantar fasciitis caused heel pain?
- Pain on the sole of the foot, often localised to the front of the heel
- Pain that is usually worse the first few steps in the morning and after rest periods during the day
- Pain often aggravated by prolonged standing, walking or running, especially on hard surfaces
- Burning, numbness and throbbing around the heel when resting at night
Potential causes of plantar faciitis related heel pain:
- Over-pronation (arch collapse)
- Tight calf muscles and Achilles tendon
- High arches and rigid feet
- Barefoot on hard surfaces or incorrect or worn out shoes
- Jobs that require lots of walking on hard surfaces
- Over training or sudden increase in training
- Weight gain
With our tools and expertise, we are able to assess and decide which of these factors are causing the injury.
How to fix heel pain
At Pioneer Podiatry, we have all the necessary tools and treatments necessary to effectively treat heel pain in any patient, of any age, from any cause. Treatments for your pain may include:
- Foot strapping to decrease the strain on the Plantar Fascia
- Further calf, Achilles tendon and arch stretches
- Foot strengthening exercises
- Ice massage, arch massage, dry needling and other forms of physical therapies
- Reducing your training load and intensity (try alternative exercises like swimming, cycling and upper body weights which have less impact on the feet)
- Footwear changes (correct support and midsole cushioning, small heel height)
- Customised Foot Supports (Orthotics) to reduce over-pronation and cushion the feet
- Night socks or splints to improve ankle flexion
- Shockwave therapy to accelerate body’s self-healing
- Moonboot to further immobilise foot and reduce strain on Plantar Fascia
- In very few cases, surgical intervention is necessary
Even though heel pain is a very common condition it can be very complex in nature. It is very important to get a correct diagnosis and a treatment plan which will suit your individual situation. If you have tried various treatments, without much success, then it is time to give us a call and speak to the feet experts.