Treating Heel Pain in Brunswick
Brunswick Foot Clinic offers quality orthotics & podiatric care to residents of and visitors to Brunswick and beyond.
Heel pain is painful. Heel pain is complex. Heel pain can be debilitating.
The condition that causes more people to cry in the knowledge that they will get better is heel pain.
Heel discomfort can arise from various locations around the heel due to multiple reasons. Mechanical factors, like issues with the tendo Achilles attaching to the heel, are common. Such conditions might result in a bone spur, which appears severe on an x-ray but might not be problematic.
A bone spur’s presence increases the chances of it being irritated by the shoe’s hard heel backing. This friction at the heel’s rear might cause a blister. If the shoe’s heel counter causes milder friction, it could lead to a soft, under-skin swelling (bursa), which might inflame into bursitis if the rubbing doesn’t stop. Sometimes, bursitis can be a consequence of inflammatory joint diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis.
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Pain within the body of the heel can be due to inflammation of the bone (osteitis); a deeper ache can indicate a stress fracture of the heel bone (calcaneum) itself. This sort of heel pain can even arise through the normal activities of daily living including the crouching down when gardening or when wrangling of small children. Not conditioning your body correctly when you begin or increase the amount or the speed of the walking or the running that you do can lead to an ache if not injury of your legs and feet, including your heels.
If you experience heel pain on the underside of your foot, it may be because there’s not enough natural fatty cushioning under the weight-bearing parts of your feet. This condition can cause bruising in the plantar medial calcaneal tubercle, especially when you’re in hard-soled footwear.
Heel Spur and Plantar Fasciitis
A bit more towards the front of the foot, heel pain may arise from a second heel spur, formed due to continuous pulling of the plantar fascia, resulting in bone overgrowth (known as Heel Spur Syndrome). Such strain often causes Plantar Fasciitis, a familiar and frequent injury to the ligament-like tissue under the foot.
Even though bone spurs seem painful, the pain doesn’t always come from the spur’s site. More often, the spur develops due to mechanical stress on the plantar fascia, rather than the spur itself pressing into the foot.
It’s often the case that an x-ray uncovers a substantial heel spur on a foot that doesn’t hurt, whereas the aching foot might not have any spur.
Causes of Heel Pain
Occasionally, heel pain is caused by irritation of a small nerve beneath the heel due to muscle crossing over it. Identifying these and related conditions correctly is crucial for devising the most appropriate management strategy for relief.
Treatment can sometimes include basic methods like cushioning, physical exercises, and massage. Utilising heat and ice thoughtfully, along with dry needling, can be beneficial. Occasionally, the use of anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, or an ankle walker (moon boot) might be necessary for prompt relief.
Orthotic therapy is required to deflect the pressures of weight bearing away from the painful site and to guide the movement of the foot in such a way that reduces the strain along the plantar fascia and the spur. There are a small percentage of cases in which the surgical release of the fascia is required. Studies have also shown that extra corporeal shockwave therapy can help to reduce the pain of heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.
Children can develop heel pain as a consequence of being active and causing damage at the back of the heel (Severs Disease). The growth plate of the heel can be disrupted by the recurrent pull of a strong and powerful calf muscle and tendo Achilles. It is important for a accurate diagnosis to be made of these conditions so the most effective treatment can be applied for relief and recovery.
Our podiatrists are highly skilled in diagnosis and the management of heel pain.