Heel pain is most commonly caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition of the thick band of tissue on the sole of the foot, which is known as the plantar fascia.
The heel pain of plantar fasciitis is often worse during the first few steps in the morning and can increase with standing or after exercising.
Biomechanical abnormalities that cause the foot to abnormally pronate (roll in) on walking are the cause of most cases of plantar fasciitis. Sometimes painful outgrowths of bone called heel spurs (see below) can form where the plantar fascia joins the heel bone; however, these are not the main source of the heel pain.
Treatment for plantar fasciitis may include rest, stretching, applying ice, anti-inflammatory medicines and weight loss to reduce stresses on the feet. If necessary, foot supports, strapping or orthotics may be recommended to correct structural abnormalities of the foot.
Make sure you wear appropriate supportive shoes.
Don't over-train in sports.
Make sure you warm up, cool down and undertake an exercise regime that helps maintain flexibility.
Manage your weight, obesity is a factor in causing plantar fasciitis.
Avoid walking and running on hard surfaces if you are prone to pain.
You should follow the recognized management protocol - RICED—rest, ice, compression, elevation and diagnosis:
Rest - keep off the injured ankle as much as possible.
Ice - applied for 20 minutes at a time every hour as long as swelling persists.
Compression - support the ankle and foot with a firmly (not tightly) wrapped elastic bandage.
Elevation - keep foot above heart level to minimize bruising and swelling.
Diagnosis – Consult a Podiatrist especially if you are worried about the injury, or if the pain or swelling gets worse. If the pain or swelling has not gone down significantly within 48 hours, also seek treatment. An accurate diagnosis is essential for proper rehabilitation of moderate to severe injuries
You should see a Podiatrist if any of the following conditions or situations apply to you:
You have biomechanical problems such as flat feet or high arches.
You have fat-pad atrophy (decreased cushion on bottom of heel).
You spend a lot of time standing, or you have had a recent change of occupation which has changed your standing/sitting ratio.
You have been subjected to prolonged bed rest.
Advice on activity options.
Guidance on appropriate footwear.
The use of custom made insoles/orthotics.
The application of foot taping.
Recommendation on suitable foot exercises.
Information on appropriate oral anti-inflammatory medication and injections.
In rare cases, the area may need to be operated on.
our podiatrist have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot problems. Prompt action is important. Problems which are left without assessment or treatment may result in major health risks.