What is Heel Pain?

Heel pain can be caused by many things. The most common cause is known as plantar fasciitis. Other causes could be arthritis, heel bursitis, the breaking down of the heel pads, bruising, Sever’s Disease (in children aged approx. 10 -16 years), etc. It is important to consult a health professional to confirm a diagnosis.

Plantar Fasciitis – What is it?

Plantar Fascia

Heel pain, often when resting. Also known as “first-step pain.” It is an irritation of the fibrous plantar fascia which runs from the ball of the foot to the heel. Sometimes it is accompanied by a deposit of calcium on the heel known as a heel spur. This bony protrusion does not cause the pain, however.

Causes

Repetitive excessive forces created by walking or standing for long periods.

Who are affected the most?

Athletes, walkers, people who are over-weight, have high insteps, fallen arches, excessive flexibility, people in the 40 – 60 age group, pregnant women, certain professions such as postal workers, chefs, hairdressers, police officers, nurses, shop assistants, etc.

Treatment

Pain killers, ice, massaging, strapping/Plantar Fasciitis support, gel heel cups in the shoe. Once the symptoms have reduced, exercises to stretch the plantar fascia, calf and Achilles Tendon will prevent it reoccurring. Custom orthotic insoles and orthotic footwear are also of benefit. A Foot Health Practitioner or Podiatrist can help you with the above.

When symptoms persist

The majority of cases will improve after 9 months or so. If conservative treatment fails, then the following may be necessary: night splints or caste, hydrocortisone injections, shock-wave therapy or even surgery to release the plantar fascia. However, most people who follow this advice make a full recovery eventually.