Heel Pain: What is it?
Most often caused by an inflammation of the fibrous band that maintains the arch of the foot called the plantar fascia (in medical terms the condition is known as plantar fasciitis fah-shee-eye-tus).
Heel Pain Causes
Structural problems in the feet such as flat feet or high arches often result in arch pain Inflammation results as the plantar fascia is pulled away from where it attaches to the bones of your feet, particularly in the heel; this can eventually lead to a heel spur as the body inserts bone into the area in an attempt to repair itself where the plantar fascia is pulling away. Inflammation is made worse by activity, including walking. This is why it is important to seek treatment early to prevent the condition from becoming chronic.
Signs and Symptoms
May begin as a dull pain in the heel and sometimes in the mid or forefoot. Pain may get sharper, more intense, and more persistent over time. Pain is usually worst after getting out of bed in the morning or following a prolonged period of rest. Visible swelling may be present in severe cases.
Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciiitis Treatment and Prevention
- Icing for ten minutes three times per day and/or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation during initial acute stage; heat therapy may be effective for chronic, longstanding cases.
- Low dye strapping (taping) to help relieve stress on the plantar fascia.
- Off-the-shelf arch supports for simple, non-severe problems.
- Prescription custom orthotics to help correct structural foot problems causing the pain and other associated foot problems such as callus buildup and corns.
- Possibly prescription custom footwear from your Chiropodist, depending on the severity of the structural foot problem.
- Plantar Fasciitis stretches and exercises
Examples of the kinds of exercises your Chiropodist may recommend:
Place a towel on the floor. Curl the towel toward you, using only the toes of your injured foot. Resistance can be increased by placing a weight on the end of the towel. Perform this exercise 20 times.
Lift all your toes off the floor and, while keeping your heel on the floor and the outside four toes in the air, tap just the big toe to the floor. Next you will change the order and tap the outside four toes to the floor a number of times while keeping the big toe in the air. Start with 10 taps and work up to 50 taps per session.
Lean against a wall with your back knee locked. Press forward until a stretch is felt in your calf muscle, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each calf.
Lean against a wall. Gradually bend your back knee bent. until a stretch is felt in your Achilles tendon, but do not stretch to the point of pain. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat three times for each foot.
Advanced Heel Pain Relief Centre
You wake up, plant both feet on the ground, stand up and then…YEOW!!! Somebody has shoved a sharp knife into the bottom of your heel! Or at least that’s what it feels like. You take a few steps – it still hurts, but not as bad. With your heel still slightly tender you carry on with your morning ritual and sit down for a cup of that much needed coffee. Then you get up again. YEOW!!! There’s that knife again. Having heel pain in the morning is the worst way to start off your day, right?
Heel pain relief is the number one treatment our Physiotherapists and Chiropodists (medical foot specialists) offer, and to toot our own horn, we do a pretty awesome job of it. However, there isn’t one magical cure. Heel pain has many different causes and may be a symptom of a much larger problem, such as a problem in your back or an old knee injury.
To treat it thoroughly, we have created our signature Heel Pain Relief Program, designed to address all aspects of your healing process so we can get you back to doing the things you love to do! We want to quickly put an end to your first-step-in-the-morning pain. We want you to be able to run that extra distance without your heel hurting, chase your children without wincing in pain, or to to work an entire shift without suffering.
SIX key components to our Heel Pain Relief Program:
- Discovering and solving the root cause of your heel pain so we can prevent it from returning.
- Reducing pain and inflammation as soon as possible.
- Creating the optimal environment for your injury to heal AND giving it enough time for your repairing tissue to fully mature.
- Teaching you to listen to your foot when it’s painful and understanding what the right decisions are to prevent re-aggravation that can lead to permanent, chronic pain.
- Designing a safe and appropriate exercise program for your heel pain at each stage of tissue healing.
- Living an Active and Healthy lifestyle again.
However, the best advice we can give you is to immediately seek help from us. Many people wait for 6 months or more before they come to us, trying everything under the sun to get better, only to feel their pain come and go or, in most instances, worsen. We regularly hear our patients say, “Wow, I should have come a long time ago!”.
If you have further question about heel pain, heel spur, or foot pain in general, reach out to our certified and experienced therapists. You could also make an online appointment here. We have Physiotherapy and Chiropody clinics across Cobourg, Bowmanville, Peterborough, Oshawa, and Port Hope.