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Heel Pain: What is it and what can you do about it today?

23 November 2023

When you are in pain, life isn’t fun.

Heel and Heel and foot pain is one of the common conditions affecting the foot, and a whole host of issues come under the umbrella of “heel pain”, such as plantar fasciitis, fat pad atrophy, insertional achilles tendinopathy, heel spur, and calconeal apophysitis, among others.

In this guide, we explore the condition of Plantar Fasciitis (or plantar heel pain), its causes and symptoms, as well as some of the best treatments available to remedy it.

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of connective tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the ball of the foot. The plantar fascia is what sup- ports the arch of your foot and helps you walk. In the condition of plantar fasciitis, the fascia first becomes irritated, and then inflamed, resulting in heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis can be caused in two ways:

  • a trauma, such as stepping on a hard object, or
  • over time through repeated overstretching, such as running.

The most common reasons for plantar fasciitis are:

  • increasing physical activity
  • obesity or pregnancy
  • poorly constructed shoes
  • feet that roll inwards or outwards
  • tight calf muscles
  • ankles with a restricted range of motion
  • weak core, leg and foot muscles
  • your walking style, such as toe walking or heavy heel striking
  • increasing age, and
  • difference in the length of your legs

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are different for everyone.

Typically, it causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst in the morning after awakening, as well as after long periods of standing or sitting. The pain can also worsen after exercise and even reach the stage where you’re in pain all the time.

When symptoms of plantar fasciitis begin to show, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible — do not wait for symptoms to worsen.

Ignoring symptoms of plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that hinders your regular activities, and is an even greater challenge to treat. Furthermore, changing the way you walk to try to minimise the pain might also lead to greater problems in the foot, knee, hip or back.

Painful feet, ankles, or legs can be treated with the right plan. The most important part of any treatment plan is to identify the true cause of your pain and the triggers that bring on your symptoms.

 

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

The time you take to recover depends on many things. For example, how long you have been suffering inflammation and how active you are.

Your symptoms are likely to start improving in four to six weeks with conservative treatment, but it can take longer.

CONSERVATIVE TREATMENTS INCLUDE:

  • “mobilising” or releasing your stuck joints
  • stretches
  • rehabilitation and strengthening exercises
  • prescribing orthotics
  • wearing better shoes
  • dry needling
  • supportive taping
  • fascial massage

Plantar fasciitis can be a painful, debilitating condition. However, with the right treatment it can be managed well.

Our podiatrists in Canberra are experienced in treating painful conditions using evidence-based, individualised treatment plans. We approach your care in a holistic way — incorporating other trusted allied health professionals as needed.

Real improvements come from finding out the true cause of your pain or problem. We work closely with you to help work out the best way to manage your condition. We get the best results this way.

We will ask lots of questions and do a wide range of assessments to find out what is wrong — and come up with a plan just for you.

Your treatment plan may include the following:

Heel pain can happen to anyone, regardless of physical fitness, gender or even body type. Even those who are physically active are many times at more risk of this type of condition.

Although pain from plantar fasciitis can be severe (bringing to mind fears about surgery and more invasive treatments) nearly every expert in foot disorders agrees that a vast majority of cases of plantar fasciitis and other types of heel pain can be successfully resolved with conservative measures.

Our healthcare team is happy to discuss if you have a foot condition that you’d like addressed today.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY

 

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