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How you can fix your heel pain!

Background

Heel pain is an umbrella term; however it commonly refers to the condition colloquially known as ‘Plantar fasciitis’, also known as heel spurs, plantar fasciopathy and plantar fasciosis. For the purpose of relating to the patient’s language and consistency we will refer to the condition as Plantar Fasciitis in this blog. Regardless of the terminology; it describes the response of the connective tissue under your foot (plantar fascia) from repetitive straining and excessive loading. The condition will affect a multitude of people from all walks of life. The onset is sporadic and will often gradually worsen over time. The complications with this condition often surround the underlying cause; whilst there are numerous reasons as to why you may have developed plantar fasciitis, it is commonly found that your biomechanics of the foot and ankle play a direct role.


Presentation

Plantar fasciopathy will often feel like a ‘sharp’, ‘stabbing’ pain under the foot or in the heel. A sensation of tearing is often described by patients, and weight bearing, particularly in the morning, can be difficult or induce pain.

Athletes may often only experience the pain during sprinting or explosive movements common to sports such as Football, Soccer, Netball and Cricket.

The injury will often become chronic due to the foot never receiving the necessary rest. If we injury our hand, we will rest it, alleviating all loads and it may have a better chance of returning to full function. The issue with our feet is that we are always working or running or a least on our fee for the majority of the day, meaning our plantar fascia will never receive the rest it needs to heal. This is specifically why most cases will eventually require the assistance of a podiatrist or health professional.


Cause

As discussed, the cause of plantar fasciitis may vary, and it is crucial you have a full assessment completed by one of our Podiatrists in Oakleigh, or Podiatrists in Kew, before undergoing treatment.


Common causes include:

  • ‘Abnormal’ biomechanics

  • ‘Flat feet’ Excessive pronation Leg length differences

  • Muscle imbalances

  • Calf tightness

  • Poor footwear Overload/Overuse

  • Excessive running Activities that place too much train on the plantar fascia

  • Long periods of standing on hard floors


Differential Diagnosis

Plantar fasciopathy is an incredibly common foot disorder; however we commonly see alternative conditions misdiagnosed due to their similarity. This can be problematic due to some disorders requiring a vastly different treatment plan. If you are having problems with rectifying the issue, be sure to visit us to ensure that you are not suffering from one of the following similarly presenting conditions.


Alternative diagnosis may include:

Achilles Tendon Injuries and Tendonitis Calcaneal and Retrocalcaneal Bursitis Foot Fracture Radiculopathy Arthritis Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Heel spur syndrome Nerve entrapment Fat pad injury


Treatment

Understanding the aetiology of the problem and directing treatment accordingly is the key to successful treatment of a damaged plantar fascia. Plantar fascia damage can be quickly dealt with by our team of experienced podiatrists, however early intervention and correct diagnosis are the keys to ensuring you receive the best outcomes possible.


Treatments may include:

Orthotic intervention Specified stretching programs Neuromuscular retraining Ultrasound therapy Conservative management Icing/Resting/Activity modification Footwear adjustment Surgery- rarely required and often used as a last resort


Shockwave Therapy

One of our more currently utilised treatment modalities for Heel Pain is the use of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy. Shockwave is at the forefront of treatment modalities for elite athletes and is now available to the general public. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy - radial, is a non-invasive (a non-surgical) treatment option for chronic conditions.


Contact

If you are suffering from foot pain, or are worried you may be developing problems mentioned above, come in and see our friendly team of Podiatrists and Physiotherapists in Kew or Oakleighfor an assessment, call (03) 9568 1011 or book online at www.msppc.com.au.


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