Heel & Arch Pain

image of foot stylised to show heel and arch pain

Definition: pain or discomfort on the underside or behind the heel that makes walking or running uncomfortable.

What Causes Painful Heels?

Heel pain can have a variety of causes relating to underlying medical conditions, poor biomechanics (the science of human motion), ill-fitting or poorly designed footwear, trauma, prolonged walking, strains, sprains or excessive weight.

The most common cause of heel pain in adults is caused by a condition known as plantar fasciitis and is characterised by heel pain in the morning or upon rising after being seated for a time.

Heel pain in children is often due to a temporary development disorder known as Sever’s disease. Heel pain in kids is often made worse with activity and heel pain after sport is also common in children with Sever’s.

Heel Pain Treatments

A range of therapeutic modalities is available to treat heel pain. At Grace Podiatry we will tailor a treatment program to suit your individual requirements. Various stretching and strengthening exercises may be useful along with custom orthotics and footwear modifications.

FAQs

What causes painful heels?
  • Poor or ill-fitting footwear
  • Abnormal biomechanics – flat feet and sometimes high arches
  • Tight muscles
  • Excessive activity – heel pain from running long distances
  • Stress fractures
  • Heel pain in gout
  • Nerve irritation
  • Tendonitis
  • Systemic Arthritis
  • Inflammation of the heel pad
  • Bone bruise and infection
  • Calcaneal cyst
How do you cure heel pain?

Seek help from a trained professional (Podiatrist).

  • Rest as much as possible
  • Ice twice daily
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help but should be avoided long term due to possible side effects.
  • Supportive footwear
  • Custom orthotics
  • Massage
  • Stretching and strengthening program
  • Night splints
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Corticosteroid injection.
How long does heel pain last?

Provided you receive appropriate treatment, heel pain can last from 2 weeks up to several months. Severe cases may take longer to heal completely.

What are the symptoms of heel bursitis?
  • Pain in the back of the heel.
  • Hot red, inflamed skin behind the heel.
  • Pain when leaning back
  • Loss of motion at the ankle joint
  • Swelling
  • Footwear discomfort
  • Crackling sound when moving the ankle
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
  • Pain, mainly at the bottom of the heel or in the medial arch.
  • Pain may lessen somewhat after a few minutes walking and become more severe with excessive activity.
  • Pain may be sudden onset or gradual. If sudden, there is a risk of a major tear to the plantar fascia rather than less serious microtears.
  • Deep ache in the bottom of the heel

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