Heel Pain

What Is Heel Pain?

Heel pain is a common foot condition. It often occurs at the bottom of the heel or at the back of the heel. Most people tend to take it lightly and not get it treated in the initial stages until it interferes with their normal activities. If not treated early, symptoms will worsen and can result in more pain and disability.

What Causes Heel Pain?

It is difficult to identify a single cause to the heel pain. Often the cause of heel pain is multifactorial. A variety of factors contribute to the development of heel pain, includes the following:

  • Overuse
  • Tight muscles/tendons in the legs
  • Gait abnormalities (overpronation or oversupination)
  • Ill-fitting, unsupportive or worn out shoes
  • Sudden increase in activity levels
  • Injury to the heel (stress fracture)
  • Weight gain
  • Certain disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.

Conditions commonly associated with heel pains

Location

Conditions

Signs and Symptoms

Pain below the heel

Plantar Fasciitis with or without heel spur

  • Inflammation of the fibrous band of tissue which spans from the bottom of the heel to the ball of the foot due to an overuse
  • Heel spurs are calcium deposits that forms from tension and inflammation
  • Pain worse in first few steps in the morning
  • Pain progresses with prolong activity
  • Pain occurs when standing up after sitting for a period of time
  • Pain may be described to be sharp or an ache

Pain behind the heel

Insertional achilles tendonitis

  • Inflammation at the Achilles tendon insertion site
  • Sharp or aching pains at the back of the heel
  • Pain occurs after prolong activity
  • Tenderness and stiffness of the Achilles in the mornings
  • Limited dorsiflexion of the foot

 

Severs Disease

  • Also known as calcaneal apophysitis
  • Inflammation of the growth plate
  • Common among children who are active, 8-14 years of age
  • Pain and tenderness behind the heel bone
  • Sore to touch
  • Pain worse with activity
  • Pain goes away with rest

 

How Can Podiatry Help?

For better treatment outcomes, it is best to initiate treatment as soon as possible. Podiatrists are trained to make a proper diagnoses and treat your condition. Treatment plans will vary according to each person. Unfortunately, heel pains do not always subside immediately with the treatment implemented. They sometimes require several months for the pain to be completely alleviated. 

To ascertain the cause of the heel pain and the best treatment plan for yourself. Seek a podiatrist today for a thorough evaluation of your legs and feet.

Dynamic and static assessments will include:

  • Hip examination
  • Knee examination
  • Ankle and foot examination
  • Standing and gait analysis
  • Footwear analysis and advice

Depending on the findings, the podiatrist will be able to construct a treatment plan for you. Treatment may include the application of foot orthoses, heel raises, footwear changes, or exercises and modification of activity. If your pain does not respond to conservative care in the long term, injections or surgery may be an option. The podiatrist can refer you on to an orthopaedic surgeon as required.