As podiatrists heel pain is such a common complaint that walks in our door. This week we have been inundated with heel pain which makes me think it must be catching! If there is an epidemic of heel pain can we be vaccinated against it? What are the risks and precautions and most importantly what can you do once you have it?
Heel pain is not a disease it is an entity, an overuse and damage of the plantar foot structures. Often involving the plantarfascial, medial calcaneal nerve and plantar fat, heel pain can be known as plantarfasciitis, heel spur syndrome, or combination heel pain. It is really important to get the right diagnosis so you are getting the right treatment. Remember kids get heel pain too but the reasons for their pain will be different, have a read of our blog post Kid’s Heel Pain Affects Their Game.
Heel pain can be insidious, sneaking up from morning heel pain on first steps with a bruised sensation to an aching pain after activity to chronic pain most of the time radiating around the heel.
Once diagnosed you can get started on treatment. Home treatment can involve icing, plantar foot rolling strength and balance work. This link shows you what you can do.
We will usually see people who have had their heel pain for some time and tried home treatments. Our treatments will involve identifying underlying foot faults and overload patterns. These need to be addressed to resolve ongoing heel pain. Often custom casted functional foot orthoses will be used in addition to taping. A great method of home taping using kinesio tape can be seen here. Taping supports the foot and soft tissue structures to aid in healing. The tissues will have patterns of tightness that also need releasing, neural stretching, fascial release and trigger point therapy are all part of our arsenal when treating heel pain. We find dry needling a wonderful treatment addition. Lastly positive thinking, our brains produce the chemicals of pain it is so important to have positive visualisation and relaxation techniques to aid in managing chronic pain syndromes.
So if you have ongoing heel pain start now with your home treatment. If you are not progressing get a professional opinion from an experienced practitioner who has a variety of treatment techniques that can be employed. Remember love your feet they are the one pair you will have for this life time.