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  • Writer's pictureTina Dang

Does heel pain stop you from your activities?

What is heel pain?

Heel pain is best described as pain that radiates across the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, which involves the inflammation of a ligament that connects your heel to your toes (the plantar fascia) and helps support the arch of your foot.

Inflammation occurs as a result of repetitive motion, or anything that puts a lot of pressure on the heel of your foot. Some examples include activities such as running, jogging, walking, and standing for long periods of time.

How do I know I have plantar fasciitis? (symptoms)

Due to strain or inflammation of the plantar fascia, patients may experience the following:

  • Dull or sharp pain under the heel

  • Aching or burning that extends from the heel to the arch of the foot

  • Pain and stiffness, especially after sitting/lying down for a while.

  • Pain that worsens throughout the day

  • Symptoms can feel worse in bare feet, thongs, or flat, flimsy shoes.

How to diagnose heel pain?

A podiatrist can conduct a biomechanical examination to determine where the heel pain is coming from. We don't just treat your heel pain, we look at the whole picture of why the heel pain is there. We can assess the joint range of motion, and conduct muscle testing for any muscle imbalances, weight-bearing assessments, and gait analysis. In more serious cases, the podiatrist can refer you to have an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI.

What are the treatment options?

When you have heel pain, the best thing is to start the treatment as early as possible, do not wait for more than 6 months to have it diagnosed. Some treatment options include:

  • Rest and apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to reduce swelling

  • Wearing arch support slippers and avoid going barefoot

  • Strapping, discuss with your podiatrist as different foot types will require different styles of strapping.

  • Foot mobilisation and manipulation for realigning the joints of the feet

  • Dry needling and deep tissue massage target the tightness in the muscles, which improves the range of motion in reduced or restricted joints.

  • Off-the-shelf or Custom Made Orthotics

  • Footwear changes

  • Stretching and strengthening programs.

  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy

  • Immobilization boot in more severe cases.

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