Treating Heel Pain in Port Melbourne
Sandringham Foot Clinic offers quality orthotics & podiatric care to residents of and visitors to Port 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.
Pain in the heel can manifest in several areas and be caused by different factors. Mechanical causes, particularly related to the tendo Achilles’ connection to the heel, are common. These issues may lead to a bone spur, which, while seemingly painful on an x-ray, may not actually cause any discomfort.
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.
Heel pain at the bottom of the foot can be due to having an inadequate amount of the natural fatty padding that underlies the weight bearing surfaces of the feet. This can lead to bruising of what is known as the plantar medial calcaneal tubercle, especially when wearing hard soled shoes.
Heel Spur and Plantar Fasciitis
Slightly further forward there can be heel pain because of the formation of another heel spur where the recurrent traction of the plantar fascia overtime leads to the overgrowth of the bone (Heel Spur Syndrome). This mechanism of injury can lead to the very well known because it is very common injury of that tight ligament like structure running along the sole of the foot, (Plantar Fasciitis).
Whilst the bone spur looks painful but the pain itself may not be where the spur is located. The development of the spur but generally is due to the mechanical load from the strain along the plantar fascia rather than the heel spur digging 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
At times, pain in the heel could be due to a small nerve on the heel’s underside getting irritated by the muscle above it. It’s important to accurately diagnose these conditions to create the best plan for effective relief.
In some cases, treatment may involve straightforward techniques such as cushioning, targeted exercises, and massages. Applying heat and ice judiciously, coupled with dry needling, can aid in relief. There might also be situations where anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, or using an ankle walker (moon boot) become essential for quick relief.
To alleviate pain, orthotic therapy works by moving the weight-bearing pressures away from the painful areas and altering foot movement to reduce plantar fascia and spur stress. Surgery to release the fascia is sometimes necessary. Extra corporeal shockwave therapy has also been shown to be effective in lessening the pain from 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.