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Answering Your Questions On Heel Pain

Pain in the foot. Massage of female feet. Pedicures. Isolated on white background.

How common is heel pain?

At least 90% of people will experience some form of heel pain throughout their lifetime.

What are the types of heel pain?

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciopathy, with pain generally being the worst in the morning which eases after being on your feet for a few minutes. Pain also occurs after resting. This occurs when the fascia becomes thickened and sometimes there can be small tears in the fascia.

Achilles tendonosis causes pain at the back of the heel and can be caused by tight calf muscles. The tendon can become inflamed and swollen.

Other types of heel pain include, Baxter’s nerve entrapment which generally causes a burning pain, irritation of abductor hallucis muscle, fat pad bruising, referred pain from the back and rarely a stress fracture of the calcaneus (heel bone).

Can children suffer with heel pain?

Sever’s disease is also a common cause of heel pain in children, particularly the physically active. It occurs just before puberty and is due to the bones growing faster than the muscle which causes tightness in the achilles tendon leading to increased tension on the insertion site.

What contributing factors cause heel pain?

There are many things that can cause heel pain including standing and being on feet for long periods of time, tightness in the muscles and ligaments, foot type, increase in activity, unsuitable footwear and a recent increase in weight gain or being overweight. Sometimes there may be no rhyme or reason to why your heel pain started.

What are the symptoms of heel pain?

Symptoms of heel pain will vary depending on the reason for the heel pain. Heel pain usually comes on gradually and can resolve on its own. Sometimes the condition especially plantar fasciopathy can become chronic and last a couple of years but tends to burn itself out. Some people have a sharp pain which causes them to limp, others may find that their heel aches.

How is heel pain diagnosed?

Heel pain is generally diagnosed on the symptoms of which the person describes, however an ultrasound can confirm any thickening or tears in the fascia or achilles tendon.

What are the treatment options?

It is important to see your podiatrist to determine the reason and type of heel pain you are experiencing.

What works for one person may not work for another. A combination of treatment generally works best. Treatment regimes generally including stretching the calf muscles and plantar fascia, massaging the heel with a tennis ball/iced bottle of water, wearing suitable footwear, strapping the foot and weight loss. Some people find night splints helpful but not everyone can tolerate them.

Another treatment option is orthotics, however you would need to discuss this with your podiatrist as they may not be necessary.

Further treatment options include steroid injection and electro-corporal shockwave therapy. Steroid injections are generally a last resort as there is a risk of the fascia rupturing.

Why does heel pain take so long to settle?

Heel pain is stubborn and can be tricky to settle. The heel has a poor blood supply and therefore the healing process is slower. Usually persistence of treatment pays off.

I hope this answers your questions on heel pain, but nothing is better than having professional advice if you are suffering from heel pain.  If this is you, give us a call on 9542 3491, and come in and see if we can help you.

Thanks for reading,


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Shop 2/17-19 East Parade
Sutherland, NSW 2232

Tel: 02 9542 3491