Heel pain/plantar fasciitis

The most common cause of heel pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick cord of fibrous tissue extending from the toes of the foot to the heel and provides the foot’s arch with support. Whenever weight is placed upon the foot, the plantar fascia is placed under tension.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by fatigue of the plantar fascia. The repeated stretching of the plantar fascia causes fatigue and inflammatory tears develop.

Pain is experienced when the inflammed tissue is stretched from resting (or shortened state) to its natural length (as in standing and walking after rest). Pain is also experienced when the area suffers recurrent pressure such as standing or walking for extended time. Nerves in close association with the fascia may be involved in the inflammatory process and contribute to pain.

Heel spurs can develop as a complication of chronic plantar fasciitis. Generally it does not improve by itself and can become debilitating without treatment.

We can help reduce your heel pain through many different measures.

Heel pain treatment

1. Stretching

Treatment involves regular stretching. The aim is to stretch the fascia and keep it stretched to allow it to heal to its natural length.

2. Orthotics

Specially designed heel pads provide cushioning in the shoe to protect the heel. Custom made orthoses (insoles) can also be used to decrease strain on the plantar fascia. Symptoms typically heal over weeks to months with complete healing requiring at least 6 months.

3. Other Therapies

When the heel does not respond to the above approaches other methods can be used. Eastern Foot Care is able to offer:

  • therapeutic ultrasound,
  • prolotherapy,
  • shockwave therapy,
  • physical therapy,
  • dry needling and
  • many other modalities to fix heel pain.

4. Surgery

Surgery is not used as first line treatment but may be warranted in select cases.

We can make Orthotics to suit your feet and modify them when needed.