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Heel Pain is a Real Pain!

Plantar heel pain can be the cause of various conditions in the foot with the most common being plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is made of strong connective tissue. It inserts at the plantar calcaneus and extends forwards into the metatarsophalangeal joints. It absorbs shock in the foot and helps the foot to correctly propulse forward during the gait cycle. It has a significant role in the biomechanics of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia and is often worse in the morning when first getting out of bed or after prolonged resting of the foot. The pain may ease after some time and then return as the days goes on or after prolonged standing. Plantar fasciitis is more common in middle-aged women and young male athletes. Poor foot posture, obesity, increased age, prolonged standing, and pregnancy are all predisposing factors in the development of plantar fasciitis. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people will be affected by plantar fasciitis in their lifetime.

Plantar fasciitis often requires a combination of treatments which can include strapping in the short term through to changing footwear, orthotics, and stretching exercises. Further treatment may be required such as a night splint, laser therapy, shockwave treatment, or steroid injections.

While plantar fasciitis is common, there are several conditions that present similarly. Baxter’s nerve impingement, tarsal tunnel syndrome, fat pad bursitis, plantar fibromatosis, sinus tarsal syndrome, calcaneal stress fracture and heel spur all cause pain in the heel but require different treatment pathways to plantar fasciitis.

It might be tempting to try to treat the pain yourself, but this could make the pain worse. It would be in your best interest to seek expert advice, and why not go to a specialist in treating foot conditions? A podiatrist will be able to help correctly diagnose your heel pain and advise a course of treatment to help you get back on your feet, not just in the short term, but looking after your feet in the future. #podshealheels

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