What is causing my heel pain?
Heel pain can be caused by a number of reasons, the most common include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Fat pad contusion
- Stress fracture of the calcaneus
- Tibial nerve impingement
Plantar fasciitis is by far the most common of these. It usually presents as pain on the inside part of the heel. The pain is often most severe with weight bearing after sleeping or sitting. Pain often increases with upward movement of the big toe. It is usually known to be a result of an overuse of the plantar fascia ligament, leading to inflammation and/or degenerative changes.
Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces puts abnormal strain on the plantar fascia and can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This is particularly evident when a person’s job requires long hours on their feet. Obesity also contributes to plantar fasciitis.
Is there anything that can be done to relieve it?
Absolutely! There are plenty of conservative measures which may include:
- Stretching exercises. Exercises that stretch out the calf muscles and Achilles help ease pain and assist with recovery.
- Avoid going barefoot while symptomatic. When you walk without shoes, you put undue strain and stress on your plantar fascia.
- Ice. Putting an ice pack on your heel for 10 minutes several times a day helps reduce inflammation. Limit activities. Cut down on extended physical activities to give your heel a rest.
- Shoe modifications. Wearing supportive shoes that have good arch support and a slightly raised heel reduces stress on the plantar fascia. Your shoes should provide a comfortable and supportive environment for the foot.
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may help reduce pain and inflammation, however, these medications will unfortunately delay healing – as inflammation is required to repair damaged tissue, for this reason it is not recommended without consultation with a health professional first.
- Lose weight. Extra weight obviously puts extra stress on your feet and therefore plantar fascia.
One of the most effective treatments for this condition is to treat the abnormal foot mechanics that contribute to overloading the plantar fasciitis. Custom orthotics are designed to control excess and abnormal pronation which is one of the most recognised causes of this condition.
What can ASP do for you?
Your Sports Medicine Podiatrist at ASP can accurately diagnose and formulate a treatment plan after carefully and thoroughly assessing you with a detailed medical history and biomechanical examination.
Should you need orthotics (Orthotic therapy), you’ll be informed on the most appropriate device, after taking into consideration your age, activity, severity, weight etc.