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Happifeet Podiatry

We care for your feet

Heel Pain

One of the most common conditions that podiatrists treat is heel pain - whether it’s a mild ache upon weight bearing or in severe cases sharp pains shooting through the bottom of the heel with every step. 

Some causes of heel pain include:

  • Irritation of the heel growth plate in kids (called Sever's Disease)
  • Irritation at the insertion of the Achilles tendon (Enthesopathy)
  • Irritation of the plantar fascia (called Plantar Fasciitis)
  • Pinching of nerves - either in your lower back or foot/ankle
  • Fat pad inflammation
  • Achilles tendon problems (Tendonitis)
  • Stress fracture in heel bone

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, strain of a tissue called the plantar fascia that lies in the arch of your feet.  This fascia runs from the heel bone to the toes and its main role is to maintain the arch of the foot.  When you walk around barefoot or wear shoes that lack arch support, this fascia is put on a stretch. 

Over time the fascia becomes thickened, painful and sometimes begins to calcify where it attaches to the heel bone. On X-rays this can show up as a heel spur .

Other aggravating factors of plantar fasciitis include prolonged standing on hard surfaces at work, flat feet, high arched feet, increase in physical activity, poor foot biomechanics, poor arch support, bad shoes, weight gain, pregnancy and even tight calf muscles. Heel pain can sometimes be related to pain in other parts of the body.

With most heel pain conditions, we can use Western Medicine Acupuncture & Dry Needling techniques to help reduce pain to provide immediate pain relief after the first treatment.

Treatment can involve:

  • Daily massage and stretching of the calf muscles
  • Using a frozen water bottle or rolling pin to massage the fascia & put gentle pressure on the heel spur area.      (This is best done just before bed and for a maximum of 20 minutes.)
  • Changes to your footwear. You can reduce the strain of the foot by wearing more supportive footwear. 
  • Sometimes customised arch supports (orthotic devices) are required to relieve the strain on the plantar fascia, giving it a chance to heal properly. These orthotic devices can also be worn after your pain subsides to prevent the heel pain from reoccurring. For example, when your symptoms have resolved, you can just wear them when you are more physically active.

However, for better treatment outcomes, you need to find the exact diagnosis & cause of your heel pain.  

A podiatrist can help find the underlying cause of your condition & provide the appropriate treatment and footwear advice for your pain.

Some people suggest waiting for heel pain to go away - but why suffer when a podiatrist can help with these common problems before it takes over you life!