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Heel pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages, and it can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. In the UK, this condition is prevalent, with thousands seeking relief each year. Understanding the causes, treatment options, and prevention strategies is crucial for managing heel pain effectively.

Heel pain

So, what can cause heel pain?

Plantar Fasciitis: This is the most common cause of heel pain. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, becomes inflamed or irritated. This condition is often characterised by sharp pain in the heel, especially in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest.

Achilles Tendinitis: This condition affects the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It usually results from overuse or improper footwear and can lead to pain and stiffness in the back of the heel.

Heel Spurs: These are bony growths that can develop on the underside of the heel bone. They often occur in conjunction with plantar fasciitis and can cause additional pain and discomfort.

Stress Fractures: Repetitive stress on the heel bone can lead to small cracks, known as stress fractures. This is common among athletes and those engaged in high-impact activities.

What are your treatment options?

Rest and ice: Giving your feet adequate rest and applying ice can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

Stretching exercises: Stretching the calf muscles and the plantar fascia can help relieve tension and promote healing.

Orthotic inserts: Custom-made orthotics can provide support and cushioning to the arch of the foot, helping to distribute pressure more evenly. Find out more here

Physical therapy: A trained physiotherapist can recommend specific exercises and techniques to improve strength and flexibility in the foot and ankle.

Footwear modification: Wearing shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can alleviate pressure on the heel and promote better foot alignment.

How can you help prevent heel pain?

Choose appropriate footwear: Opt for shoes that provide proper arch support and cushioning. Avoid wearing high heels for extended periods.

Gradual increase in activity: Avoid sudden increases in activity levels, especially high-impact exercises. Gradually build up intensity to allow your body to adapt.

Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can put additional strain on your feet, contributing to heel pain. Maintaining a healthy weight can help alleviate this pressure.

Stretch regularly: Incorporate stretching exercises into your daily routine, especially before and after physical activity.

Listen to your body: Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain in your feet and seek professional advice promptly.

If you’re struggling with persistent heel pain, seeking professional help is crucial. A podiatrist is a specialised healthcare professional who can provide accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plans tailored to your specific condition.

Make an appointment with our experienced podiatrists at Footworks Podiatry, Totnes here