What causes heel pain?

Heel pain is most commonly one of two conditions either Plantar Fasciitis (bottom of the heel) or Achilles tendinopathy (back of the heel)

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common injuries that we see at the Theale Wellbeing Centre. It is the most frequent cause of chronic heel pain usually where the fascia under the foot inserts into the heel bone. It is thought to have a mechanical origin and can be associated with increased body weight and lower limb biomechanical anomalies. Inflammation is only rarely observed and so anti-inflammatory agents (e.g. Ibuprofen) are unlikely to be of much help. The priority should be to speak to one of our podiatrists as soon as possible as an early intervention usually leads to a better outcome.

When managing Plantar Fasciitis, the following should be considered: –

  • Taping may help in the early stage. If this proves beneficial in terms of pain relief and improved function, shoe inserts (orthotics) should be considered as part of a longer term solution.
  • Calf and plantar fascia stretching should be undertaken regularly.
  • Footwear should be assessed to ensure that it is appropriate for you.
  • If the pain in the heel has been present for a prolonged period e.g. 6 months. Shockwave therapy should be considered.
  • The pain associated with Plantar fasciitis usually encourages sufferers to become more sedentary.
  • As increased body weight predisposes someone to have plantar fasciitis it is important to have a plan that helps to maintain a healthy body weight.

This blog/video also gives you some information on relieving the symptoms of this injury.

What is Achilles Tendinopathy?

Achilles tendinopathy affects the Achilles tendon (that joins the heel to the calf muscle) by causing pain, swelling and stiffness to the back of the heel. It is thought to be caused by repeated small injuries to the Achilles tendon. This condition can have the effect of making simple movement such as walking painful – a chronic condition is defined as symptoms that persist for more than six weeks. It can affect anyone but especially people who are involved in running and jumping activities. It is thought that more than 150,000 people every year are affected by this condition. This strong and flexible tendon is the in the body.

What are the symptoms of this condition?

Symptoms are usual increasing pain and stiffness and possibly some swelling at the back of the ankle. The pain may come and go and a grating noise or creaking feeling may be noticeable when the ankle is moved. Symptoms may be more noticeable after exercise when stiffness may also occur that recedes once movement starts again.

Shockwave therapy is one of the treatments that we offer for this condition.

This is the sixth in our series about common foot problems. Our we aim is to provide you with information about these conditions plus hints and tips (where possible) on how to avoid and treat them.

If you have any concerns about any aspect of your feet gives us a call to book a consultation with one of our talented podiatrist.