Heel Pain

Heel pain is routinely diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis; the symptoms of which are quite common:

  • Early morning heel pain which lasts a few minutes
  • Heel pain during the day after periods of rest
  • Worse pain after prolonged periods of exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory treatments appear to significantly improve symptoms

Technically a ‘Plantar Fasciitis’ is an acute injury that is a strain of the structure on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot. When these symptoms come on more gradually and are present for a long period of time the term ‘Plantar Fasciosis’ is more applicable.

Other conditions that can affect the heel have similar symptoms but have different mechanisms of injury and respond better to some treatment options than others, such as:

  • Fat Pad Syndrome
  • Contusion
  • Compression of the medial plantar nerve
  • Stress Fracture
  • Referred Pain
  • Severs Disease

Healing time depends on which actual part of the foot is injured. Broadly speaking a bone bruise can take approximately 6 weeks to resolve, a soft tissue injury to muscles etc can take 2 months, tendons 3 months, and ligaments >6 months.

Plantar Fasciosis is known to resolve all on its own, but it also known to take anywhere up to 2 years to achieve this.

Self Treatment Top Tips:

  • Rest
  • Ice – Find an empty plastic drinks bottle (the smaller sizes of 500ml or so are best) and fill it with water. Put this in the freezer. After a prolonged weight bearing activity have a thin sock on your foot (cotton or similar) and roll the bottle under your foot from the heel to the ball of the foot and back again. Repeat this for 10-15mins or until the area feels numb from the cold.
  • Supportive Footwear – See the footwear pages for more information
  • Anti-inflammatories – e.g. Ibuprofen etc, These should only be used in the short term and only on the advice of a Pharmacist or other medical practitioner.
  • Stretches – Primarily calf muscle stretches
  • Orthotics -See the orthotics pages for more information.
  • Consult your Podiatrist – If symptoms persist then you need to visit your local Podiatrist.

For more help and information make an appointment with us here.

Related Articles:

Plantar Fasciitis: Evidence-Based
Review of Diagnosis and Therapy