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:
o Irritation of the heel growth plate in kids (Sever's Disease)
o Irritation at the Achilles tendon (Enthesopathy/Tendinitis)
o Irritation of the plantar fascia (Plantar Fasciitis)
o Pinching of nerves - either in your lower back, ankle or foot
o Fat pad inflammation, fat pad atrophy or 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 can become stretched and strained.
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. However, it is not the heel spur that is painful, it is the tension and friction of the fascia that is causing your pain.
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.
With most heel pain conditions we can use Western Medicine Acupuncture & Dry Needling techniques to help provide some immediate pain relief after the first treatment.
Treatment can also involve a change in your footwear and customised inserts (orthotic devices) in order 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 recurring.
While symptomatic relief is important, we have found that better treatment outcomes are achieved by addressing the exact 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 and get you back to a better quality of life where you aren't restricted by heel pain.