Treating Heel Pain in Thornbury
Brunswick Foot Clinic offers quality orthotics & podiatric care to residents of and visitors to Thornbury 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 pain can occur at a number of different sites about the heel and for different reasons. There can be mechanical causes such as those associated with the attachment of the tendo Achilles at the back to the heel. This can lead to the formation of a bone spur which looks very painful on x-ray but may not cause trouble.
The existence of a bone spur may enhance the risk of irritation from a shoe’s firm heel counter. Such friction can occasionally cause a blister at the back of the heel. When the rubbing from the shoe’s heel is gentler, it might create a bursa under the skin, which can turn into bursitis if the friction continues. Bursitis sometimes develops as part of inflammatory joint disorders like 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.
Pain at the bottom of the heel might result from insufficient natural fatty padding beneath the feet’s weight-bearing areas. This lack of padding can cause bruising in the area called the plantar medial calcaneal tubercle, particularly if you wear hard-soled shoes.
Heel Spur and Plantar Fasciitis
Further towards the front of the heel, pain can be caused by another type of heel spur, which develops from repeated stress on the plantar fascia leading to bone growth (Heel Spur Syndrome). This repetitive stress is a common cause of Plantar Fasciitis, the injury to the taut band running beneath the foot.
The bone spur might look painful, but the actual source of discomfort may not be at the spur’s location. The spur typically forms due to strain on the plantar fascia from mechanical loading, rather than direct irritation from the spur itself.
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
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.
Active children may experience heel pain due to damage at the heel’s rear (known as Severs Disease), often caused by the repeated strain from a robust calf muscle and tendo Achilles. Accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensure that the best treatment is provided for both relief and recovery.
Our podiatrists are highly skilled in diagnosis and the management of heel pain.