The most common form of Heel Pain
, is pain on the bottom of the heel. It tends
to occur for no apparent reason and is often worse when first placing weight on the foot. Patients often complain of pain the first thing in the morning or after getting up to stand after sitting.
The pain can be a sharp, searing pain or present as a tearing feeling in the bottom of the heel. As the condition progresses there may be a throbbing pain after getting off your feet or there may be
soreness that radiates up the back of the leg. Pain may also radiate into the arch of the foot.
The most common cause of heel pain is a pull on the heel bone exerted by the muscles and ligaments (plantar fascia shown in illustration above) that support the arch of the foot. This is an overuse
condition similar to bursitis of the shoulder or tennis elbow. Plantar fasciitis is typically very painful in the morning during the first few steps, after sitting and again at the end of the
Common symptoms, heel Spurs: the pain is usually worst on standing, particularly first thing in the morning when you get up. It is relatively common, though usually occurring in the over forty's age
group. There are no visible features on the heel but a deep localised painful spot can be found in or around the middle of the sole of the heel. Although it is often associated with a spur of bone
sticking out of the heel bone (heel spur syndrome), approximately ten per cent of the population have heel spurs without any pain. Heel Bursitis, pain can be felt at the back of the heel when the
ankle joint is moved and there may be a swelling on both sides of the Achilles tendon. Or you may feel pain deep inside the heel when it makes contact with the ground. Heel Bumps, recognised as firm
bumps on the back of the heel , they are often rubbed by shoes causing pain.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as have you had this type of heel pain before? When did your pain begin? Do you have pain upon
your first steps in the morning or after your first steps after rest? Is the pain dull and aching or sharp and stabbing? Is it worse after exercise? Is it worse when standing? Did you fall or twist
your ankle recently? Are you a runner? If so, how far and how often do you run? Do you walk or stand for long periods of time? What kind of shoes do you wear? Do you have any other symptoms? Your
doctor may order a foot x-ray. You may need to see a physical therapist to learn exercises to stretch and strengthen your foot. Your doctor may recommend a night splint to help stretch your foot.
Surgery may be recommended in some cases.
Non Surgical Treatment
If you develop heel pain, you can try several methods at home to ease your discomfort. For example rest as much as possible, apply ice to the heel for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day, use
over-the-counter pain medications, wear shoes that fit properly, wear night splints, a special device that stretches the foot while you sleep, use heel cups or shoe inserts to reduce pain, If these
home care strategies do not ease your pain, you will need to see your doctor. He or she will perform a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms and when they began. Your doctor may also take an
X-ray to determine the cause of your heel pain. Once your doctor knows what is causing your pain, he or she will be able to provide you with the appropriate treatment. In many cases, your doctor may
prescribe physical therapy. This can help to strengthen the muscles and tendons in your foot, which helps to prevent further injury. If your pain is severe, your doctor may provide you with
anti-inflammatory medications. These medications can be injected into the foot or taken by mouth. Your doctor may also recommend that you support your foot as much as possible-either by taping the
foot or by using special footwear devices. In very rare cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem. However, heel surgery often requires a long recovery time and may not always
relieve your foot pain.
Although most patients with plantar fasciitis respond to non-surgical treatment, a small percentage of patients may require surgery. If, after several months of non-surgical treatment, you continue
to have heel pain, surgery will be considered. Your foot and ankle surgeon will discuss the surgical options with you and determine which approach would be most beneficial for you. No matter what
kind of treatment you undergo for plantar fasciitis, the underlying causes that led to this condition may remain. Therefore, you will need to continue with preventive measures. Wearing supportive
shoes, stretching, and using custom orthotic devices are the mainstay of long-term treatment for plantar fasciitis.
Maintaining flexible and strong muscles in your calves, ankles, and feet can help prevent some types of heel pain. Always stretch and warm-up before exercising. Wear comfortable, properly fitting
shoes with good arch support and cushioning. Make sure there is enough room for your toes.