What is Heel Pain?
Heel pain is a very common foot complaint. The heel is a padded cushion of fatty tissue that holds its shape despite the pressure of body weight and movement. It serves to protect the structures of the foot, including the heel bone, muscles and ligaments.
What causes Heel Pain?
There are many causes of heel pain some of which include but are not limited to:
- Abnormal walking style (such as rolling the feet inwards)
- Ill-fitting shoes
- Standing, running or jumping on hard surfaces without adequate support
- Injury to the heel, such as stress fractures
- Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa – bursa are small sacs that contain fluid to lubricate moving parts, such as joints and muscles)
- Neuroma (nerve growth)
- Certain disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.
Who does Heel Pain Affect?
Anyone can suffer from heel pain, but certain groups seem to be at increased risk, including:
- Middle aged men and women
- Physically active people
- People who are very overweight or obese
- People who are on their feet for long periods of time
- Children aged between eight and 13 years
- Women during pregnancy.
How is Heel Pain Treated?
At Medical Pedicure we have trained Podiatrists who can discuss all levels of conditions and provide appropriate treatment plans. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment can include but is not limited to:
Rest from activities that stress the heel (such as running and jumping)
- Ice packs
- Professional strapping
- Flexibility exercises
- Investigation of the person’s posture and walking style, to check and correct imbalances and gait abnormalities that may contribute to the pain
- Shoe inserts (orthoses) to help support the foot
- In some cases, surgery may be recommended to treat conditions including neuroma, bursitis and heel spurs
If left untreated heel pain may increase and lead to complications including Heel Spurs and Plantar Warts.
How can Heel Pain be reduced?
You can reduce the risk of heel pain in many ways by:
- Wearing shoes that fit you properly with a firm fastening, e.g. laces.
- Choosing shoes with shock-absorbent soles and supportive heels.
- Always warming up and cooling down when exercising or playing sport – include plenty of slow, sustained stretches.
- If necessary, your podiatrist will show you how to tape or strap your feet to help support the muscles and ligaments.
- Shoe inserts (orthoses) professionally fitted by your podiatrist can help support your feet in the long term.
Suffering from heel pain? Book an appointment at Medical Pedicure on (03) 8645 9888, or Book Online.