Heel Pain


Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common cause of heel or foot pain is plantar fasciitis. This condition occurs often in runners but anyone can have it and it’s often associated with a mechanical problem with the foot, such as excessive pronation or supination (twisting) of the foot. Pain is worse in the morning and improves during the day. There is often a tender spot on the inside border of the heel bone that can extend along the inside margin of the foot. Treatment involves avoidance of the causative factors, cold/heat, stretching exercise, specially prescribed insoles (orthotics) for the shoes and wearing footwear with adequate support.

Your Osteopath will also use special soft-tissue techniques and may adjust your gait or pelvis to prevent recurrence of the injury. Laser treatment can be particularly effective.

Calcaneal Spurs

A calcaneal spur is a small bony projection that is formed on the bottom of the heel bone or calcaneum. It is caused by putting too much prolonged pressure on the fascia and soft tissues on the soles of the feet.

When the muscles of the calf or Achilles tendon are overloaded there will be extra strain on the tendons and muscles in the soles of the feet. This overstrain can cause swelling and even small cracks in the tendon.

When you are asleep the muscles of the sole of the foot will contract to protect the damaged tendon. So when you get up the pain will return and be even worse.

The body tries to repair this damaged tendon by calcifying it, or wrapping it up in bone, causing as small boney spur to develop.

It is not the boney spur itself that causes the pain, but the prolonged damage and inflammation of the tendon. The spur doesn’t develop until much later in the injury process.

This is why it is VERY important to seek help from your Osteopath quickly!

Symptoms of Calcaneal Spur

Sharp stabbing pain under the heel which goes on rest. It is worse in the morning but gets a bit easier in the day.

The pain can become very severe.

Often sufferers are overweight and middle-aged, because the shock-absorbing fat pillow under the foot shrinks over the years.

It can affect athletes who don’t train often or who wear ineffective footwear.

"Fallen arches" can lead to this problem.

Treatment and advice

Treatment involves avoidance of the causative factors, cold/heat, stretching exercise, specially prescribed insoles (orthotics) for the shoes and wearing footwear with adequate support.

Your Osteopath will also use special soft-tissue techniques and may adjust your gait or pelvis to prevent recurrence of the injury. Laser treatment can be particularly effective. The heel can be helped by a small cushioned insole inside the shoe.

If you are overweight, losing weight can help prevent foot problems.

Fat Pad Syndrome

Another common cause of heel pain is fat pad syndrome or "bruising" of the protective layer of fat under the heel. This may develop suddenly after a fall onto the heels or slowly from repeated heavy heel strike with poor heel cushioning.

Treatment involves avoidance of the causative factors, cold/heat, stretching exercise, specially prescribed insoles (orthotics) for the shoes and wearing footwear with adequate support. AVOID cortisone injection from your GP at all costs!

Your Osteopath will also use special soft-tissue techniques and may adjust your gait or pelvis to prevent recurrence of the injury. Laser treatment can be particularly effective.

Calcaneal Stress Fractures

Calcaneal stress fractures result from overuse. They require X-ray for diagnosis and specific treatment and advice from your Osteopath.

 

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