Heel pain is a common condition treated by podiatrists and can be caused by a variety of problems. It can occur in people of all ages and physical fitness and may be acute or chronic in nature.
Heel pain can be very debilitating, causing the body to compensate when you walk, leading to knee, hip and lower back pain if left untreated. This condition can also be attributed to heel spurs which are diagnosed on X-ray.
Common Types of Heel and Arch Pain Include:
- Planar Fasciitis/ heel spur.
- Tarsal coalition.
- Sinus Tarsi Syndrome.
- Calcaneal Apophysitis (Severs disease).
- Neoplastic (benign and malignant tumours).
- Systemic syndromes ( gout, diabetes, Paget’s disease).
- Fat pad atrophy.
- Bruises, cuts or abrasions.
- Stress fractures.
Causes of Heel Pain:
- Poor foot biomechanics or abnormal gait.
- Excessive pressure on the heel bone and the attached tissues.
- Injury and trauma.
- Range of motion deficits.
- Muscle strength imbalances.
- Tight, overused muscles (i.e calves).
- Improper training programs/ over training.
- Hard surfaces.
- Poor footwear.
- Being overweight.
- Systemic diseases.
Symptoms of Heel Pain:
- Symptoms may vary depending on the underlying pathology.
- Pain, redness, heat, swelling.
- Difficulties weightbearing and pain after periods of rest.
- Reduced mobility and discomfort.
- Numbness and/or burning sensation.
Treatment for Heel Pain:
- Foot Mobilisation Therapy.
- Tool Assisted Sports Massage
- Shock Wave Therapy (Clinically proven to resolve 70-80% of chronic heel pain cases).
- Foot orthoses.
- Dry Needling.
- Stretches and strengthening exercises.
- Supportive footwear.
Recovery periods can be 6-8 weeks depending on the cause of your heel pain and response to treatment.