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Heel Pain?

Do you suffer from heel pain?

Is your pain affecting your daily life?

Well; you're not the only one! Some studies have suggested that approximately 10% of the population suffer from debilitating heel pain at some point in their lives.

Most commonly people come in to clinic thinking they have plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue that starts at the heel and runs through the arch of the foot in to the base of the toes. It supports the arch and acts as a shock absorber, something that is extremely important when weight bearing, walking and running (basically, daily life!)

Plantar fasciitis can cause pain in the heel, or the entire way along the 'band'. It usually starts due to repetitive minor injuries/stresses through the area. This usually means it could be from something as simple as wearing ill fitting shoes, or more complex issues such as your foot structure and lower limb mechanics during your gait cycle. Or in other words, the way you use your feet and legs when standing and walking!

Early recommendations for plantar fasciitis are to rest the area, ice, apply pain killers such as ibuprofen gel and carry out some gentle foot stretches and gentle massage (as long as none of the suggested cause pain). If things do not settle down within a week, we highly recommend booking in for a Biomechanical appointment to assess the extent of the injury and devise a suitable treatment plan for you. This may involve assessing your gait, providing exercise therapy and prescribing temporary or permanent orthotics to heal the problem, and try to prevent its recurrence.

There are at least nine other differential diagnoses for heel pain. Some of which may present in a similar way and could be treated very similarly to plantar fasciitis.

However; several other conditions actually present quite differently. It is therefore really important to take notice of your pain. When did it start? Has it started as a niggle and gradually gotten worse, or is it an acute injury (such as starting suddenly after jumping from a height)? If so; it could be a fracture of the calcaneum.

Does the pain cause tingling and numbness? Perhaps it is a nerve impingement?

Is the pain on either side of the foot, perhaps a little towards the ankle? This could mean the involvement and dysfunction of important muscle and tendon groups in your lower leg.

Is the pain at the back of the heel? This could be achilles tendonitis, or in the case of teens and pre-teens, a condition called Sever's.

We will always take a full history of your pain and activity. It is therefore important to try to be as accurate as possible when discussing your issues with us. We will also take a full medical history, including any medications you are taking, illnesses or conditions you may have. No matter how unrelated you think they may be, don't forget to mention them as they may be more related than you realise!

These are all conditions that when assessed and diagnosed correctly are able to be treated appropriately. Contrary to popular belief, none of these issues are likely to resolve completely on their own. There are many treatment plans which can be devised for the correct diagnosis, and importantly for the stage of injury. Some may even require onwards referral to surgical teams.

Many injuries have graded 'stages' to define them. You wouldn't treat a slightly inflamed/painful plantar fascia the same as a torn one! In the same way we wouldn't give a keen, generally fit 24 year old runner the same treatment plan as an 84 year old minimally active person.

At Henley Podiatry and Health Therapies we really listen to YOU and take YOU in to consideration when developing care and treatment plans. Our ultimate goal is to get you back to the activity you are aiming to do (and hopefully make you feel much better in the process!).

Don't ignore your pain!

Call us now on 01491 260320 or book online

Morning, afternoon and evening appointments available! Can't find an appointment to suit? Contact us via phone or email and we might be able to help with a different date/time!

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