What is Heel Pain ?
Heel pain refers to any pain in or around the heel. This is generally quite inflammatory in nature and can affect one or both feet. Typically, in most heel pain cases, the plantar fascia gets aggravated or inflamed and can cause a throbbing, stabbing or burning pain underneath the heel. It is very common for people with long term heel pain (greater than three weeks) to start developing, or have, a heel spur. It is vital to note that the heel spur itself has no nerve endings and doesn’t hurt; it is simply a sign that overuse of this area has been present for some time.
- Plantar Fasciitis - It all comes down to the ligament that runs from your heel bone and along the sole of your foot to support your arch.
- Heel Spur - Achilles pain refers to any pain in and around the Achilles tendon and where it inserts into the back of your heel, connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus).
- Achilles Tendonitis - Achilles tendonitis is the aggravation and inflammation of the Achilles tendon. With repeated stress or trauma, this can progress to degeneration and even tearing of the Achilles tendon
- Sever’s disease - Sever’s Disease refers to inflammation of the growth plate of the heel bone (calcaneus). Classically, it is quite painful and usually affects children between the ages of 8 and 14 years
- Morton’s Neuroma - Morton's neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes
Most people describe the pain as being ‘like a hot knife sticking into the bottom of your heel’. Others describe it as a sharp, hot, searing pain in the middle, inside or outside of the heel or arch of the foot.
What causes heel pain ?
There are a multitude of factors that can trigger heel pain. It is very common for people to develop it ‘all of a sudden’ without a clear cause. In some cases, it can be the result of a referred pain pathway. Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than the site of the original stimulus.
It is extremely common to develop it after:
- Starting exercise, a new sport or activity
- Starting a new job or changing a job role, where more standing or walking is now required
- Increased weight gain
- Flat (pronated) feet
- High-arched (supinated) feet
- Changes in footwear – ‘new or different’ shoes
How can I treat heel pain?
- Dry needling and trigger point release
- Acupuncture and laser therapy
- Joint mobilisations
- Muscle energy techniques
- Silicone cupping
- Shockwave therapy
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections
- Orthotics and insoles
- Kinetic taping
- Suitable footwear
Please note: If symptoms persist we recommend visiting your health professional for appropriate assessment and treatment.