The heel is a specialised part of the foot designed to absorb the impact of your body weight when walking, running or undertaking any form of physical activity. Your heels have the equivalent of several hundred tonnes passing through them every day. When pain develops it can be very disabling, making every step a problem and which in turn can affect your overall posture. It can stop you doing the things you enjoy like walking the dog, doing the park run or taking a ballroom dancing class.

Heel pain is a common occurrence and one I see often in my clinic. In the majority of cases then pain is caused by small repetitive injuries that occur at a rate faster than the body can heal them. It can affect everyone people who have had a change in their activity or habits, who are standing for long periods of time or who are overweight.

There are many different reasons you could be experienceing heel pain such as:

 

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Heel Bursitis

  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Fracture of the heel bone

  • Servers Disease

  • Achilles tendonitis

  • Heel Spurs

  • Heel Bumps

  • Chronic Inflammation of the heel pad

Approximately 10% of the population suffer with heel pain at some point during their life. 80% of these cases are due to Plantar Fasciitis.

This is damage to the fascia “band” (similar to a ligament) in the sole of the foot, which connects the heel to the base of the toes. Where this band inserts into the heel bone inflammation (fasciitis) and damage (fasiopathy) can occur. Symptoms are a sharp pain in the base of the heel, sometimes radiating into the arch of the foot. It is usually unilateral (in one foot not both), it is worse on weight bearing especially after a prolonged period of rest. Sufferers often report that it is very uncomfortable when they first get out of bed in the morning but the pain usually improves with continued walking. It can then be very uncomfortable after extended periods of time on your feet.

Excessive running or sudden increase in physical activity.
Standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time.
Very flat shoes worn for extended periods of time.
Change of lifestyle (jobs or new hobby that involve increased amount of time on your feet). Weight gain.

Limb length discrepancy (one leg longer than another). Tight Achilles tendon.

Try wearing shoes with a good heel cushion and effective arch support. Resting can help, minimise walking or exercising on hard ground or standing for long periods. Wear a slightly raised heel. Lose weight if you are overweight.

If heel pain is affecting your normal activities and not getting better with simple self-help treatment you may wish to consult a Podiatrist. We can then devise you a bespoke treatment plan to get you on the road to recovery.

 

Treatments can include: -

  • Footwear advice

  • Icing techniques

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises

  • Strapping

  • Specialist shoe inserts to reduce the pressure on the injured area

  • Monitoring and modifying your activity

  • Foot and ankle mobilisations

There are many different types of heel pain so the most important thing is to get the right diagnosis from a podiatrist. Click here to book an appointment.

Remember, “Pods Heal Heels”

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