Heel pain is our topic today and we see this every single day in clinic. So what exactly is heel pain?
Heel pain is any pain which you get under or around your heel, and it’s comes and goes, or it’s constant. It’s not just a one off thing.
So what causes heel pain?
There are lots of different things that can cause heel pain:
One of these is footwear. If your footwear is not supporting you, in the correct way, classic things like bally pumps, or just slip-on shoes, this can cause the plantar fascia under the foot to stretch slightly, and then it pulls at the heel. So this can cause a little bit of a heel pain.
What you are doing in your daily life. How much are you walking? How much exercise are you doing? Have you suddenly increased your exercise or have you changed your exercise regime? All these things can initiate a chain, which can lead to heel pain. Have you recently put on weight? Then you’re carrying extra load through the lower limb and the feet, and this can trigger something in the foot as well.
The mechanics of your walking or running could be putting extra strain on your lower limb leading to heel pain.
What can you do about it at home?
Stretching. Often we find people have got tight muscles, ligaments, tendons, when they experience foot and ankle pain. So a basic calf stretch is always useful. You can always stretch under your foot using a tennis ball or a frozen bottle of water, if you roll that over the arch under the arch and under the heel of your foot, it often settles down pain and inflammation associated with it.
Ice and/or anti-inflammatories to calm down any inflammation.
Modify your exercise regime – if you have suddenly increased it, just pull it back slightly to take the strain off the structures around the heel.
Footwear – make sure you’re wearing the correct footwear for the job. If you’re running, make sure you’ve got a running trainer with good support, or if it’s tennis, make sure it’s a tennis shoe.
If all of the above doesn’t work, go and see your podiatrist and we will assess you. We will video you walking, running and doing whatever sport it is that’s causing the problem and slow it down, have a look at what is going on and suggest a treatment programme. We will often suggest a stretching and strengthening program. We may suggest modifying your exercise, so change up your exercise regime, don’t just run if that’s what’s causing a problem and maybe do some swimming or cross training as well. Footwear, footwear footwear! Always look at your footwear as well. If it’s not doing the job, it’s going to be causing you problems. And we may suggest a referral, you might need a referral to someone else, like a physio or an osteopath to do some manipulation work on you as well. We may also suggest an insole or orthotic to support your foot if it needs it, and often we find this does help when you’ve got heel pain. Maybe temporary, maybe more permanent.
We will work with you to ensure the best treatment for you and your body to fit in with your lifestyle. Our podiatrists are experts in this field and we are here to help!