The two main causes of heel pain are Plantar Fasciitis and a Calcaneal Heel Spur. These are related conditions and often occur together.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing pain in the underside of the heel which can also radiate into the arch of the foot. This condition, also known as plantar fasciopathy.
A calcaneal heel spur is a calcification of the heel bone on the underside of the foot around the insertion point of the plantar fascia.
The predominate sign of both conditions is pain into the underside of the heel, however with plantar fasciitis you may also experience pain into the arch of the foot.
Symptoms are often worse first thing in the morning but can also be aggravated by activities involving running, or walking when wearing flat or hard-soles shoes.
Although runners often suffer with these symptoms, it can affect anyone and you are more likely to experience them if you are overweight – or if you have relatively recently changed your footwear or increased the amount of time you are spending on your feet.
Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of the weakening of the muscles which maintain the ‘spring’ in the arch of the foot. As the arch of the foot is put under pressure it starts to flatten, causing the plantar fascia to become irritated and painful. The tension in the plantar fascia can then ‘pull’ on the heel bone, causing a bony spur to develop.
Although the pain is felt in the foot, the underlying causes of this condition are often a weakness in the muscles of the hip or lower leg – both of which are in the muscle chain that helps to stabilise and maintain the arch of the foot.
Short-term symptoms may be due to an inflammation of the tissues, which tends to react well to massage and manipulation used in conjunction with other modalities such as acupuncture, ultrasound and kinesio taping.
Most cases of heel spur and plantar fasciitis however are longer-term and are not the result of inflammation. This is why they are often unsuccessfully treated with steroid or cortisone injections.
These longer-term cases are generally best treated with a course of shockwave therapy, followed by a programme of exercise rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles of the foot, hip and lower leg which have led to the condition in the first place.
Our clinic provides osteopathy & shockwave therapy for areas including March, Ely, Wisbech, Huntingdon, St Ives & Whittlesey and beyond.
Contact us now to book a free 15-minute chat with an Osteopath to see if we could help with your heel pain.
Need help? Call us on 01354 694050 or book online here