Heel Pain

Podiatrists are often asked in casual conversation…”what is the most common problem you treat?” The short and simple answer is heel pain.

Irrespective of whether you are 12, 45 or 70 years of age, there is a form of heel pain that can impact dramatically on your daily functioning.

In children between the ages of 9 and 14, heel pain is almost always related to the irritation of a growth plate in the posterior section of the calcaneus (heel bone). Known as Sever’s or Calcaneal Apophysitis, it will commonly affect active children involved in jumping sports such as netball, football, basketball and athletics but it is not isolated to these. As this is related to a normal developmental phase of growth, the condition cannot be cured but management of symptoms is essential. Podiatrists will employ a multi-faceted approach to control the symptoms in both the short and long term and allow the patient to remain involved in their chosen sport.

In adults, heel pain is more commonly related to conditions known as plantar fasciitis or enthesopathy. It will present typically as pain on the first few steps in the morning or after a period of rest such as sitting or driving. The cause of this condition varies from patient to patient and treatment involves identifying these causative factors and applying treatment to combat them. Commonly, conservative therapies such as ice, massage and stretching will be combined with orthoses, altering footwear, anti-inflammatory medication and exercises or activity changes to successfully resolve the pain. Less frequently treatment will involve night splinting, various types of injection therapy, shock wave treatment and even surgery.

As endorsed prescribers, Daniel and Bernard can provide the prescriptions needed to access the oral S4 anti-inflammatory medications and injectable steroids if required.

Less commonly in adults heel pain can also be caused by nerve entrapments and fat pad atrophy. These are often missed by practitioners with less experience in this field.

Podiatrists are best equipped to manage all forms of heel pain in patients of all ages.