Heel and foot pain from plantar fasciitis is a common complaint. A person suffering from plantar fasciitis will typically feel pain under the heel or in the arch.
Occasionally, they may notice pain on the side of the heel. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. This condition is normally caused by biomechanical abnormalities such as flat feet or collapsed arches, working or doing physical activity on hard surfaces or training errors. The pain usually develops gradually and may be triggered by wearing inappropriate shoes.
Possible causes of foot and heel pain
Heel pain is most often caused by repetitive stress or other medical conditions and not necessarily from injury. While the most common cause of foot and heel pain is plantar fasciitis, there are other potential causes as well.
- Plantar fasciitis: plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that runs from the heel bone to the ball of the foot. This condition is common in people with unusually high or low arches.
- Heel bursitis: When inflammation occurs in the bursa (fluid-filled sac) at the back of the heel, it is known as bursitis. This condition can be caused by wearing ill-fitting footwear or abnormal biomechanics that cause friction over the bursa such as your heels and arches falling in. Pain typically progresses as the day goes on.
- Sever’s disease (heel pain): This is caused by inflammation of the growth plate in the heel and is most common in active children. You may notice your child limping or they may complain of heel pain during or after sporting activities
- Stress fracture: This injury can occur as a response to repetitive stress, heavy manual labour, or strenuous exercise or sports. It is particularly common in runners and individuals with osteoporosis.
- Achilles tendinosis: Also known as tendonitis or degenerative tendinopathy, this is a chronic condition that can occur when the Achilles tendon experiences progressive degeneration.
Other possible causes of heel pain include rupture of the Achilles tendon, a tear in the plantar fascia, systemic arthritis, bone bruise, poor posture, circulation problems, calcaneal cysts, and gout. If the pain is felt on the heel or the foot, it may be caused by a range of issues such as sprains, stress fractures, cuboid syndrome, tarsal coalition, or bunions or calluses.
Treatment options and when to see a podiatrist for heel pain
The good news is that most cases of heel and foot pain can be treated successfully and conservatively. Options for treatment include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, athletic taping, and orthotic devices. In severe cases or when conservative treatment measures are not sufficient, surgery may be an option.
If you think you may need to see a podiatrist for plantar fasciitis or another foot issue, Taylors Lakes Podiatry Clinic can help. Our podiatrists are friendly, caring and knowledgeable on a wide range of foot and heel issues. We take a personalised approach to every patient, designing a unique treatment plan to help with your particular symptoms and conditions. To learn more or book a consultation, contact Taylors Lakes Podiatry Clinic today.