How you can fix your heel pain!
Updated: Feb 10
What is plantar fasciitis, AKA heel pain?
Heel pain is an umbrella term; however, it commonly refers to the condition colloquially known as plantar fasciitis, also known as heel spurs, plantar fasciopathy, and plantar fasciosis.
Regardless of the terminology, the term describes the response of the connective tissue under your foot (plantar fascia) from repetitive straining and excessive loading. The condition will affect a multitude of people from all walks of life. The onset is sporadic and will often gradually worsen over time.
The complications with this condition often surround the underlying cause; whilst there are numerous reasons as to why you may have developed plantar fasciitis, it is commonly found that your biomechanics of the foot and ankle play a direct role.
Many people suffer from heel pain in silence, and hope that the condition will go away. While this can happen, avoiding treatment for heel pain can also cause it to worsen over time. Thankfully, a qualified physiotherapist can diagnose and treat heel pain.
If you are suffering from heel pain, consider coming in to see one of our podiatrists at Align Health Collective. We have offices across the city of Melbourne and can, quite literally, get you back on your feet.
What does severe plantar fasciitis feel like?
Plantar fasciopathy will often feel like a ‘sharp’, ‘stabbing’ pain under the foot or in the heel. A sensation of tearing is often described by patients, and weight-bearing, particularly in the morning, can be difficult or induce pain.
Athletes may often only experience pain during sprinting or explosive movements common to sports such as football, soccer, netball, and cricket.
The injury will often become chronic due to the foot never receiving the necessary rest. If we injure our hands, we will rest them, alleviating all loads and stresses. Doing so allows a greater probability of the hand recovering and returning to full functionality. With feet, though, there are more issues that present themselves. Because people often have to stay on their feet for the majority of the day, their heel never gets the rest it needs to heal. This is specifically why most cases will eventually require the assistance of a podiatrist or health professional.
What are the causes of plantar fasciitis?
As discussed, the cause of plantar fasciitis may vary. We strongly recommend that you have a full assessment completed by one of our Podiatrists in Oakleigh, or Podiatrists in Kew, before undergoing treatment.
Common causes of heel pain include:
● ‘Abnormal’ biomechanics
● ‘Flat feet’
● Excessive pronation
● Leg length differences
● Muscle imbalances
● Calf tightness
● Poor footwear
● Excessive running
● Activities that place too much train on the plantar fascia
● Long periods of standing on hard floors
What are the issues with diagnosing plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciopathy is an incredibly common foot disorder. However, we commonly see alternative conditions misdiagnosed due to their similarity. This can be problematic due to some disorders requiring a vastly different treatment plan. If you are having problems with rectifying the issue, be sure to visit us to ensure that you are not suffering from one of the following similarly presenting conditions.
Alternative diagnosis may include:
● Achilles Tendon Injuries and Tendonitis
● Calcaneal and Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
● Foot Fracture
● Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
● Heel spur syndrome
● Nerve entrapment
● Fat pad injury
How do you fix heel pain?
The question of how to fix heel pain has plagued scientists for years. However, modern medicine has made many breakthroughs in this area, and new, effective solutions to fix heel pain are available.
Understanding the aetiology of the problem and directing treatment accordingly is the key to successful treatment of a damaged plantar fascia. Plantar fascia damage can be quickly dealt with by our team of experienced podiatrists; however, early intervention and correct diagnosis are the keys to ensuring you receive the best outcomes possible.
Treatments may include:
● Orthotic intervention
● Specified stretching programs
● Neuromuscular retraining
● Ultrasound therapy
● Conservative management
● Icing/Resting/Activity modification
● Footwear adjustment
● Surgery- rarely required and often used as a last resort
Can shockwave therapy help my heel pain?
One of our more currently utilised treatment modalities for Heel Pain is the use of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy. Shockwave is at the forefront of treatment modalities for elite athletes and is now available to the public. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy - radial, is a non-invasive (a non-surgical) treatment option for chronic conditions.