Treating Heel Pain in North Melbourne
Brunswick Foot Clinic offers quality orthotics & podiatric care to residents of and visitors to North Melbourne 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.
Having a bone spur can heighten the likelihood of irritation caused by the stiff heel support of a shoe. This irritation can sometimes result in a blister at the heel’s back. Less intense rubbing from the shoe’s heel counter may cause a soft bump under the skin (bursa), potentially leading to inflammation (bursitis) if it persists. In certain cases, such bursitis is a result of an inflammatory condition like psoriatic arthritis.
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Inflammation in the heel bone (osteitis) can cause pain within the heel, and a more profound ache may be a sign of a stress fracture in the calcaneum. Such heel pain can result from ordinary activities, such as gardening or caring for young children. If you don’t properly condition your body when starting or intensifying your walking or running regimen, you may experience pain or even injury in your legs and feet, heels included.
The pain felt at the foot’s bottom heel area can often be attributed to a deficiency in the natural fatty layer under the feet’s weight-bearing sections. This can result in bruising of the plantar medial calcaneal tubercle, more so when you’re wearing shoes with hard soles.
Heel Spur and Plantar Fasciitis
Just ahead in the foot, heel pain might occur due to another heel spur caused by ongoing strain on the plantar fascia, leading to excessive bone formation (Heel Spur Syndrome). This type of strain commonly results in Plantar Fasciitis, an injury to the ligament-like structure along the foot’s sole.
Although a bone spur appears painful, the actual pain may not originate at the spur’s location. Generally, the spur’s formation is attributed to the mechanical strain on the plantar fascia, not necessarily from the spur itself causing discomfort in the foot.
It is not uncommon for an x-ray to reveal a large heel spur on a pain free foot whilst the foot that is sore has no spur.
Causes of Heel Pain
Sometimes heel pain can arise from a small nerve that supplies the under surface of the heel being irritated by the muscle that crosses it. These and other conditions need to be correctly identified so the best management plan can be brought about for relief.
The treatment regimen may at times include basic cushioning, specific exercises, and massage therapy. Effective use of both heat and ice treatments, as well as dry needling, has proven helpful. In certain scenarios, resorting to anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, or using an ankle walker (moon boot) may be necessary for early relief.
Orthotic therapy aims to redistribute weight-bearing pressures away from the site of pain and to direct the foot’s movement to lessen the tension on the plantar fascia and the associated spur. In a few instances, surgery to release the fascia may be necessary. Furthermore, extra corporeal shockwave therapy has been proven to alleviate the discomfort associated with heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.
In children, heel pain can arise from active play leading to damage at the back of the heel (Severs Disease). This can stem from ongoing tension exerted by the calf muscle and tendo Achilles on the heel’s growth plate. It’s vital to accurately diagnose these conditions to administer the most effective treatment for their relief and healing.
Our podiatrists are highly skilled in diagnosis and the management of heel pain.