The most common cause of localised heel pain, is Plantar Fasciitis (PF), known as ‘heels spurs’. This condition involves inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of the foot that connects to the inside of the heel bone.
The soft tissue damage of the plantar fascia is what causes most of the heel pain symptoms. However due to the pull of the fascia on the heel bone, heel spurs will also form with this condition and hence why they go hand in hand.
Heel pain generally starts off slowly and gets worse over a period of time. It is more prevalent in those who are overweight or begin a new exercise training program.
The plantar fascia is a very important structure in the foot as it maintains the arch and assists the foot in propelling forward when walking.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Spurs):
- Due to excessive stain on the fascia from abnormal biomechanics and gait.
- Excessive pronation (rolling in of the feet/ flat feet).
- Associated with tight calves.
- Sudden increase in activity levels.
- Improper training programs.
- Change in footwear / unsupported footwear.
- Weight gain or loss.
- Range of motion deficits.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Spurs):
- Pain on the inside of the heel or arch.
- Signs of inflammation may be evident.
- Pain and discomfort when getting up after periods of rest.
- Increased pain first thing in the morning with initial steps.
- Minimal to no pain when resting or at night.
- May hurt at the start of exercise or activity, gets better during exercise and return to intense levels at the end.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Spurs):
- Treat the inflammation (rest, ice, compression, elevation, anti-inflammatory medication, Voltaren gels).
- Foot Mobilisation Therapy
- Review of footwear and training regime.
- Gradual rehabilitation program with return to activity.
- Stretching of the PF and calves.
- Assessment of gait and biomechanics of the foot by the podiatrist.
- Temporary strapping of foot.
- Cast/night splint.
- Orthotic therapy.
- Dry Needling.
- Surgical release of PF.
The recovery time for PF can range from 6 to 10 months, with 95% of patients responding to conservative treatment. It is important to treat this condition as soon as possible to reduce the prognosis time and prevent increase pain and trauma.
Well Heeled Podiatry commonly encounter this type of heel pain and can provide you with an individualised treatment regime to speed up the recovery process.