8 things you need to know about Heel Pain | The Physio Movement

Posted on: Jun 11th, 2021 by The Physio Movement | Categories: Sports Medicine & Nutrition

8 Things you need to know about Heel Pain

1- Did you know that heel pain, or pain in the heel bone of the foot is one of the most common foot complaints seen at  TPM Podiatry. The prevalence of heel pain increases as we get older and is more common in women than men. The most common cause of chronic heel pain is pathology associated with the plantar fascia. This condition is referred to as plantar fasciitis, plantar fasciopathy or sometimes “heel spurs”.

2 – The plantar fascia is a large ligamentous structure that attaches on to the bottom of the heel bone (calcaneus) at one end and the base of the toes at the other end. It supports the arch of the foot and assists the foot to propel the body forward during walking and running. The plantar fascia can come under enormous loads during weight bearing activities, therefore, injury to the plantar fascia is often associated with increases in activity levels or standing for prolonged periods of time.

3- Initial symptoms associated with irritation of the plantar fascia include pain directly under the heel bone (feels like a stone bruise) when pressure is applied to the heel, pain when standing after prolonged periods of rest (such as first thing in the morning when getting out of bed), pain at the beginning of exercise or after finishing exercise and pain at the end of the day after standing or walking all day.

4- Treatment for an inflamed and irritated plantar fascia might include managing any inflammation, offloading the plantar fascia through a range of methods, stretching and strengthening programs for the fascia and supporting structures, orthotic (shoe inserts) therapy, shockwave therapy, cortisone injections and in some chronic cases of heel pain, surgery may be indicated.

5 – While the plantar fascia is more often than not responsible for pain in the heel, there are other causes of heel pain that should not be overlooked. The Achilles Tendon also attaches to the heel bone and when under tension can cause pain at the back of the heel. Achilles tendon injuries are often managed in a similar way to plantar fascia injuries and often both can exist at the same time.

6- Children aged between approximately 8 and 14 years can also complain of heel pain. In this situation it is the growth plate at the back of the heel bone that is responsible for causing pain. It can cause a lot of concern for parents as there is often significant limping associated with this condition, however this is a very common condition that effects children who participate in a lot of sport and can be well managed conservatively with appropriate Podiatry care.

7- Other causes of heel pain include irritation to the fat pad under the heel bone, nerve entrapment, bursitis, stress fracture of the heel bone and arthritis.

8 – In all cases of heel pain the most important thing you can do is to seek early treatment. Our sports focused physiotherapists are foot and lower limb health experts who assess, diagnose and treat heel pain on a daily basis. A referral is not required to see our professionals.

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