Heel pain is a prevalent foot problem and can affect one or both heels. Many different conditions can cause this pain whether they are affecting the heel itself or it’s surrounding structures.
The most common causes of heel pain are:
– Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue which is found along the sole of the foot with an insertional point at the base of the heel bone.
This tissue can over stretch and causes small tears (micro tears) in the fascia. Commonly this occurs with a sudden increase in exercise, in sports which involve running and jumping or exercise on hard surfaces i.e. concrete. Symptoms include pain with the first few steps in the morning or after a period of rest which eases with more movement.
– Achilles Tendonitis
This tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is an overuse injury which causes inflammation of the tendon. Symptoms of which include pain, swelling and stiffness at the back of the heel.
– Sever’s Disease (in children)
– Stress Fracture
– Heel Spurs
– Haglund’s Deformity
Management/Treatment of Heel Pain:
– Over the counter / Custom made orthotics
– NSAIDS, Icing, Rest
– Stretching and strengthening exercise programmes
– Steroid injections
A podiatrist will be able to diagnose and come up with a treatment plan for heel pain through a series of examinations, such as biomechanical assessment, palpation and inspection of the affected area, taking a detailed medical history and referring onwards for further imagining / tests if needed.
By: Marie O’Connor
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