Heel pain is an extremely common complaint, and there are several common causes. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be
directed at the cause. If you have Heel Pain
, some causes include Plantar
Fasciitis, Heel Spur,Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Stress Fractures, baxter's nerve compression.
Some of the many causes of heel pain can include abnormal walking style (gait), such as rolling the feet inwards. Obesity. Ill-fitting shoes. Standing, running or jumping on hard surfaces. Injury to
the heel, such as stress fractures. Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa, bursae are small sacs that contain fluid to lubricate moving parts, such as joints and muscles). Neuroma (nerve enlargement).
Certain disorders, including diabetes and arthritis.
Sever?s Disease. This is a condition that occurs in 10 - 15 year old children, predominantly boys and is associated with running and repetitive jumping. It is also associated with flimsy footwear
that kids may wear. It occurs when the Achilles tendon continually pulls on the apophysis of the calcaneum and does not allow for it to fuse with the body of the calcaneum. Calcaneal enthesopathy.
This occurs when there is repetitive trauma at the attachment of the Achilles tendon, resulting in a spur from the calcaneum up into the Achilles tendon. It is usually visualized on x-ray and may be
tender if there is an associated bursitis or tendonitis. "Pump Bump". Also known as Haglund?s Deformity, this is a bony enlargement that exists on the back of the heel - usually related to a
congenital abnormality or with chronic bursitis, causing a thickening. There may have already been trauma or pressure from footwear. Treatment is usually protection of the bump and correct footwear.
Associated with a symmetrical swelling at the base of the Achilles tendon. It is usually related to repetitive trauma or inappropriate footwear. It is often red and hot in the early stages. Treatment
is usually to correct the footwear, provide padding and treat the local symptoms e.g. ice, rest, physiotherapy and cortisone injection. Fat Pad Syndrome. Direct contact with the base of the heel may
result in trauma to the fat pad. Related to obesity, training on hard surfaces, uneven grounds, poor shoes especially overlarge shoes which can cause shearing forces on the heel. These conditions are
renowned for taking a long time to recover - usually many months.
To arrive at a diagnosis, the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain your medical history and examine your foot. Throughout this process the surgeon rules out all the possible causes for your heel pain
other than plantar fasciitis. In addition, diagnostic imaging studies such as x-rays or other imaging modalities may be used to distinguish the different types of heel pain. Sometimes heel spurs are
found in patients with plantar fasciitis, but these are rarely a source of pain. When they are present, the condition may be diagnosed as plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome.
Non Surgical Treatment
Recommended treatments, heel Spurs: cushioning for the heel is of little value. Your chiropodist/podiatrist may initially apply padding and strapping to alter the direction of stretch of the
ligament. This is often successful at reducing the tenderness in the short term. Your chiropodist/podiatrist may suggest a course of deep heat therapy to stimulate the healing processes, allowing
damage to respond and heal faster. In the long term, your chiropodist/podiatrist may prescribe special insoles (orthoses) to help the feet to function more effectively, thereby reducing strain on the
ligaments and making any recurrence less likely. If pain from heel spurs continues, you may be referred to your GP who can prescribe an oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Alternatively, localised
hydrocortisone injection treatment may be given by your GP or an appropriate chiropodist/podiatrist. If pain persists, surgery may be considered. Heel Bursitis: in most cases, attention to the cause
of any rubbing, and appropriate padding and strapping by your chiropodist/podiatrist will allow the inflammation to settle. If infection is present, your chiropodist/podiatrist will refer you to your
GP for antibiotics. Heel Bumps: adjustments to footwear is often enough to make them comfortable. A leather heel counter and wearing boots may help. However, if pain persists, surgery may be
It is rare to need an operation for heel pain. It would only be offered if all simpler treatments have failed and, in particular, you are a reasonable weight for your height and the stresses on your
heel cannot be improved by modifying your activities or footwear. The aim of an operation is to release part of the plantar fascia from the heel bone and reduce the tension in it. Many surgeons would
also explore and free the small nerves on the inner side of your heel as these are sometimes trapped by bands of tight tissue. This sort of surgery can be done through a cut about 3cm long on the
inner side of your heel. Recently there has been a lot of interest in doing the operation by keyhole surgery, but this has not yet been proven to be effective and safe. Most people who have an
operation are better afterwards, but it can take months to get the benefit of the operation and the wound can take a while to heal fully. Tingling or numbness on the side of the heel may occur after
A variety of steps can be taken to avoid heel pain and accompanying afflictions. Wear shoes that fit well-front, back, and sides-and have shock-absorbent soles, rigid shanks, and supportive heel
counters. Wear the proper shoes for each activity. Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles. Prepare properly before exercising. Warm up and do stretching exercises before and after
running. Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities. Don't underestimate your body's need for rest and good nutrition. If obese, lose weight.