Heel pain is a very common foot complaint and may involve injury to the bone, fat pad, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Heel pain can also be referred by a pinched nerve in your lower back.
It is important to have your heel pain thoroughly assessed to ensure an accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Anyone can suffer from heel pain, but certain groups seem to be at increased risk, including:
Middle aged men and women
Active people eg running sports
People who are very overweight
Children aged between 8 and 13 years
People who stand for long periods of time.
Common Sources of Heel Pain
• Achilles Tendon Rupture
• Achilles Tendonitis / Tendinitis
• Heel Spur
• High Ankle Sprain
• Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
• Overuse Injuries
• Pinched Nerve
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Severs Disease
• Shin Splints
• Sprained Ankle
• Stress Fracture Feet
Common Causes of Heel Pain?
Some of the many causes of heel pain can include:
Abnormal walking style (such as rolling the feet inwards)
Ill-fitting shoes eg narrow toe, worn out shoes
Standing, running or jumping on hard surfaces
Recent changes in exercise program
Heel trauma eg. stress fractures
Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa)
Health disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.
Heel Pain Treatment
Most heel pain is caused by a combination of poor biomechanics, or muscle weakness or tightness. The good news is that heel pain can be effectively managed once the cause is identified.
Most heel pain can be successfully treated via:
pain and pressure relief techniques
biomechanical correction eg orthotics, taping, foot posture exercises
muscle stretches and massage
lower limb muscle strengthening
proprioceptive and balance exercises to stimulate your foot intrinsic muscles.
If you feel that your footwear or sports training schedule are potentially causing your heel pain, then we recommend that you seek the advice of a sports physiotherapist, podiatrist or trained footwear specialist (not just a shop assistant) to see if your shoe is a match for your foot; or discuss your training regime to see if you are doing too much.
Heel pain and injury are extremely common. With accurate assessment and early treatment most heel pain injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy allowing you to quickly resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living.