Podiatrist Discusses The Cause Of Heel Pain

Have you ever suffered a dull ache in the bottom of the heel or a sharp stabbing pain that radiates towards your toes? Both are symptoms you may be suffering from acute or chronic heel pain. Heel pain is one of the main reasons people come to see me at my podiatry clinic.

Heel pain describes any pain localised to the underside of the heel but can also extend towards the back of the heel. There are numerous causes of heel pain and consequently it is very important you are correctly diagnosed before a treatment plan is commenced.

When a patient comes in complaining of heel pain I go through a detailed history of their issue. I want to know the type of pain (dull/sharp), when pain is worse, the level of activity and training and any previous injuries that may be related. Typically, heel pain is worse in the mornings or after prolonged periods of inactivity and maybe exacerbated by standing on hard floors or running.

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis or plantar fasciosis. The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous structure that originates under heel and attaches under the toes. You can feel the planter fascia when you flex your toes back and run your hand along the arch. Its main role is to provide support for the arch of the foot and it contracts the foot to provide tension for push off. While a severe blow or trauma to the area can result in a plantar fascia injury this is less common than the repetitive, overuse injury. Any activity or movement that increases the load on the plantar fascia or the amount of time the plantar fascia remains contracted will aggravate the condition.

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