Heel pain is a condition that I see frequently in the clinic . It can be quite stubborn to resolve, partly because it is difficult to give the weight-bearing surfaces of the foot, sufficient time to rest. Realistically, walking is not an activity people can refrain from doing for any length of time…, although I am not suggesting that rest is the only way to cure heel pain.
Heel pain can be caused by a number of different conditions, including plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and fractures. It is important to differentiate between the various causes of heel pain to get an accurate diagnosis so that the correct treatment can be administered to target a specific tissue that is causing the symptoms.
This requires an in-depth, expert assessment of the problem. Often heel pain is mistakenly classified as ‘plantar fasciitis’ and treated using a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This normally includes using heel pads and doing stretching exercises. Unfortunately, this provides symptomatic relief at best; in order to get to the root of the problem, a proper biomechanical examination needs to be carried out to assess for faulty foot mechanics. Sometimes an ultra-scan investigation is needed to form a differential diagnosis.
Depending on the cause of your heel pain, treatments can include extracorporeal shock wave therapy and special devices that break down scar tissue in the soft tissue structures of the heel.