Heel pain can be caused by a variety of conditions such as heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, plantar heel bursitis, heel bruise, Severs disease, Achilles tendinitis, osteoarthritis, nerve impingement and referred pain.
Diagnosis is the key to correct treatment. Our podiatry team in Adelaide, Stirling and Mount Barker is highly qualified to identify the cause of the pain and the structures involved and provide the most appropriate individual treatment and management plan.
Below is a description of these conditions.
Heel spurs are a bony projection at the heel usually caused by trauma and ongoing traction (pulling) of the muscles and tendons against the heel bone. Heel spurs generally do not cause the pain. Heel spurs under the heel are often associated with the attachment of the Plantar Fascia (a ligament-type structure in the sole of the foot) and inflammation at its connection is called Plantar Fasciitis.
Heel spurs at the back of the heel are often associated with the Achilles tendon attachment to the heel bone and can develop into a Haglund’s deformity.
Picture of a heel spur deformity
Picture of Haglunds deformity
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain and causes pain under the heel and start of the arch of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by over-stretching or repeated tension and general degradation of the fascia which may cause small tears in the plantar fascia at the heel or under the arch.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include pain with the first steps when getting up in the morning or after periods of sitting. The pain can range from acute, sharp, stabbing pain to a constant throbbing ache, and can settle quickly once walking or last all day. Plantar fasciitis can have a sudden onset or the pain can increase gradually over many months. Whilst it can affect anyone of any age it most commonly presents in the 40s with people who spend a lot of time on their feet. As with all musculoskeletal pains, plantar fasciitis may resolve by itself or sometimes it can go on for months or years. Early treatment is ideal to reduce the symptoms and severity of plantar fasciitis. Chronic or long term plantar fasciitis and foot pain may cause a change to your gait to compensate for the pain, leading to an overload of other muscles and joints in the feet and legs.
Picture of plantar fasciitis
Achilles tendinopathy is any condition or pain related to the Achilles tendon, often associated with stress, strain or tearing of the fibres within and around the Achilles tendon.
There are two muscles forming the calf, the bulky upper muscle (gastrocnemius) and the shorter smaller muscle (soleus) both of which connect through the Achilles and insert into the heel. When exposed to excessive tension and overuse, the tendon can be damaged and pain can be present within the actual Achilles tendon usually 2-5cms above the heel. Pain is mostly noted in pushing forward and lifting the heel when walking as the muscle and tendon are at tension and pulling at the same time.
Careful management with an individualised plan includes appropriate stretching, a strengthening program, manual therapy, correct footwear and potential pressure relieving devices to improve pain, function and healing of the Achilles tendon.
Severs Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis)
Severs disease is not actually a disease and cannot be transmitted to anyone else. It is actually a type of growing pain and is by far the most common heel pain in children between 7-14 years of age.
The cause is thought to be ongoing repetitive stress at the growth plate within the heel bone (calcaneus) caused by pulling of the calf and Achilles as it attaches to the heel bone. It is typically present in active children and especially at times of significant growth in height where the leg bones become effectively too long for the muscles. Addressing the exercise load, muscle tension, footwear and foot function may reduce the pain and limitations caused by Sever’s Disease.
Why Choose Sanders Podiatry? Linden Park, Stirling or Mount Barker Clinics
Sanders Podiatry is dedicated to the complete care of your feet, making you comfortable, secure and stable on your feet throughout your life. We have a family friendly clinic and address foot concerns at any age and for any problem. We are a client-centred clinic with individualised treatment plans to treat your unique condition.
Our gentle and practical approach to your foot care is with your long term wellbeing in mind, we are here to help you as well as educate and inform you about your feet and their longevity.
We are widely connected to organisations and associations setting standards for excellent foot care around Australia, namely:
• The Australian Podiatry Council
• The Australian Podiatry Association
• Sports Medicine Australia
• The Australasian Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine
• Physitrack certified exercise prescription
• Arthritis Aware
Call us to book an appointment:
Sanders Podiatry in Linden Park – 08 8379 1456
Sanders Podiatry in Stirling – 08 8339 3344
Sanders Podiatry in Mount Barker – 08 8370 1590