80% of Heel Pain comes from These Two Conditions. Read on to find out more!

Oh no! I have pain in my heel!

Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems that we see at the Podiatry clinic.

Did you know that there are many different types of heel pain? Read on to understand the 2 most common types of heel pain you may be experiencing!

 

1. Plantar Fasciitis

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What is it?

The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous tissue band connecting the heels to the toes and it is important for stabilizing the foot during walking. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury due to abnormal loading of the plantar fascia during walking and sports. The plantar fascia can get swollen and damaged. It is the most common type of heel pain.

 

 What is possibly contributing to my pain?

  • Flat feet

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With a collapsed arch, the constant stretch at the plantar fascia combined with the constant pressure at the arch area during walking may cause plantar fasciitis.

 

  • High arch

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A high arched foot typically has a tight plantar fascia which overstretches during walking, causing plantar fasciitis.

 

  • Tight calf muscles

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Having tight calf muscles reduces the mobility at the ankle joint, causing you to land more at the arch area instead of at the heel. This causes overloading at the plantar fascia.

 

  • Poor footwear

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Wearing slippers or shoes with inadequate support may affect the way you are walking, stressing the plantar fascia.

 

  • Weight gain

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The extra weight goes to your feet causing too much pressure at the plantar fascia.

 

  • Increase or change in activities

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A sudden increase in frequency or intensity when doing an activity like walking or running may contribute to plantar fasciitis.

 

Symptoms:

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Pain is felt at the bottom inner heel where the plantar fascia starts and the pain may also extend along the whole foot. Pain is worse in the morning when stepping down from bed and when getting up from a seated position. Typically, pain gets better after taking a few steps.

 

What can I do to self-treat?

  • Rest to minimize putting pressure on the feet.

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  • Massage the arch area with an iced bottle for 20 minutes nightly.

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  • Lose weight if necessary to reduce pressure at the feet.

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  • Use footwear with a firm heel counter, firm midsole and straps or laces across the foot to better support the feet.

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  • In the morning, before stepping down from bed, pull your toes towards you and stretch the plantar fascia.

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  • Stretch your calves twice a day, hold for 30 seconds and alternate legs 2 times each time.

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What can we do to help you?

If self-treatment does not work, you should approach a Podiatrist to do the following:

  • Calf release

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This helps to loosen up any tight knots in the calves, making the calves more flexible.

 

  • Taping

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Sports tape helps to stabilise your foot thus reducing pressure on the plantar fascia.

 

  • Insoles

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Insoles help to put your feet into a better position, thus helping your feet function more effectively, taking the stress away from the plantar fascia.

 

 

2. Achilles Tendinopathy

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What is it?

Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy is a condition affecting the Achilles tendon where it inserts into the back of the heel bone.

 

What is contributing to my pain?

  • Repetitive high impact activities cause overloading at the Achilles tendon.

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  • Tight calf muscles constantly pull at the back of the heel causing inflammation.

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  • Pronating (turning in) or supinating (turning out) when walking or running can cause the Achilles tendon to overwork to stabilise the foot.

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  • Haglund’s deformity is a bony prominence at the heel bone that irritates the Achilles tendon.

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Where and when do I get the pain?

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Pain and swelling at the back of the heel bone. It is usually painful and stiff in the morning. Some people with this condition will find that pain eases off after warming up. Pain is exacerbated during high impact activities like running or jumping.


What can I do on my own to feel better?

  • Avoid any high impact activity to rest the Achilles tendon. Do non weight-bearing activities such as swimming to stay fit.

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  • Ice 20 minutes nightly to reduce inflammation around the Achilles tendon.

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  • Wearing shoes with an open heel or soft heel counter will help reduce irritation around the Achilles tendon.

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What can we do to help you?

If self-treatment does not work, you should approach a Podiatrist to do the following:

  • Taping

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Sports tape helps to stabilise the foot and take pressure off the Achilles tendon.

 

  • Insoles

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Insoles can help correct abnormal mechanics of the foot, putting less stress on the Achilles tendon.

 

  • Isometric and eccentric exercises

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These exercises help to reduce pain as well as to train the Achilles tendon to receive load. It is a structured program to be done with the Physiotherapist.

 

Hope you have found the above information useful and you are one step closer to relieving your heel pain! Feel free to contact us at 91521305 / 62888280 should you need to consult a Podiatrist!