Heel Pain

Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is inflammation of a band of fibrous tissue (the plantar fascia) within the arch of the foot that attaches into the heel bone.

Signs and symptoms

Plantar fasciitis may present as pain anywhere along the length of the plantar fascia, most commonly at the heel where the plantar fascia attaches to the calcaneus (heel bone). Sharp pain is often felt immediately after rest, particularly first thing in the morning. Symptoms may improve as the area warms up but may then become worse again towards the end of the day, especially if you have been on your feet for a long time.

What are the causes of plantar fasciitis?

Repetitive overstretching and tissue stress of the tight bands of the plantar fascia, which result in micro tears in these bands as they extend from the heel, causes plantar fasciitis. Because these tears usually do not occur from a single traumatic event, an immediate healing reaction is not triggered. A chronic irritation or inflammatory process thereby begins which increases with activity. A sudden weight gain, sudden changes in the intensity and type of activity, poor foot mechanics (over pronation), inappropriate footwear and standing, walking or running on hard surfaces can all lead to plantar fasciitis.

Podiatry treatment of plantar fasciitis

A combination of the following treatments will assist in formulating the treatment plan that works best for you.

  • Strapping/taping techniques to achieve immediate relief.
  • Stretching and strengthening advice.
  • Anti-inflammatory advice.
  • Footwear recommendation and referral.
  • Orthotic therapy to reduce the strain on the plantar fascia.