Heel Pain: 3 Things you need to know

heel pain

A Podiatrist's View on Heel Pain

Over 50% of Australians will experience heel pain at some point in their life.

Making it one of the top reasons patients come to see a  podiatrist.

The first sign that you’ve injured your heel to some degree is naturally when you start to feel pain.

Your heel pain may or may not be associated with some swelling or bruising.

These symptoms often mean that the heel structure is under more pressure and strain than it can take. This has caused some level of damage to the surrounding tissues.

Common Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often limited to two specific areas. The first is Plantar Fasciitis which is generally described as “bottom of the heel pain.”

The second most common complaint of heel pain is “back of the heel pain” also known as Achilles Tendonitis. The level of pain increases if a micro tear, heel spur or Achilles tendon rupture occurs.

This extra strain causes not only discomfort in the area but can spread to other areas if physical pressure on the area is not reduced.

 

Achilles-tendonitis

Often your body will try and compensate for the area in pain by overloading other areas of the lower body.

This leads to more uneven disruption to surrounding muscles and joint structures.

When you should use Heat or Ice for Heel Pain?

Many times I’ve had patients coming into the clinic telling me they have been using ice on their heel pain that has been there longer than 24-48 hours.

This can add to the problem, you see, the bottom of the heel area, where the plantar fascia is, has quite a poor blood supply.

Because of this, applying an ice pack to the heels can further slow down the blood flow to the affected area.
 
Which will decrease the healing benefits blood can bring to an injured area.
 
Secondly that applying heat to an acutely (newly) injured heel can welcome unwanted inflammation or swelling.
 
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all treatment. Treating the pain is one thing and treating the cause can mean another.
 

Note: Providing you with treatment and advice will depend on your circumstance and history of pain. If at any time you would like to have a more personalised assessment click here

 

As a rule of thumb

 
Use ice for a heel injury is within the first 24 hours of the injury itself.
 
The best time to use heat for heel pain is after the acute phase of the injury has passed.
 
Heat can provide additional relief, but it is not as effective as ice for the first 24 to 48 hours of the injury.
 
So be sure to use heat as the second line of defence for your heel pain if it has been longer than 48 hours.
 
It’s recommended to use a heat pack for 10 to 20 minutes three times a day for the first week of the injury. This can be used in the form of a hot water bottle or heating pad.

 Often, getting the balance back into your step is quite simple once you understand the cause of your pain.

Treating Heel Pain From The Cause

Getting to the root causes of heel pain is the key to preventing and can prevent it from happening again.
 
This may involve addressing problems such as inflammation, biomechanical issues, and muscle imbalance.
 
So, try adding one or two of the following strategies to help you avoid the injury, and then keep them in place as a long-term preventative:
 
1. Use an orthotic if your heel pain is due to biomechanical issues that can be corrected with a custom orthotic by a podiatrist.
 
2. Use a tennis ball to roll your heel on for 5 minutes morning and night.
 
3. Wear proper footwear that provides adequate support.
 
If you have excessive pain or strong suspicion that you have plantar fasciitis, it is important to see a podiatrist.
 

 
At Unisoles our Podiatrists will evaluate your condition, design and prescribe a treatment plan, and provide you with follow-up instructions.
 

There is also a simple solution to all your heel troubles.

That is, treating the biomechanical causes of your heel pain.

Answering a few vital questions and scanning your feet to be digitally examined by our Podiatrists can help you get to the root of the problem. So it doesn’t get you off your feet again.
 
Our Podiatrists would be pleased to help you get back to your pain-free self.
 
Luckily, you don’t even need to leave your home or office.
 
Unisoles have created a virtual form that goes through the information needed to create a custom orthotic that will get you out of heel pain in no time
 
You can also chat with a podiatrist to help you via our website too.
 
Simply click below to get your assessment started today.

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For a limited time Unisoles is offering Virtual Consultations at no charge.

So if you have a Podiatry enquiry please book a time convenient for you. 

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