The most common cause of heel pain is a heel spur and inflammation of the plantar fascia (thick ligament running along the sole of the foot) due to overuse (excessive standing, exercise).
Heel pain is often worse in the morning when first standing up, standing up after resting and during or after exercise.
The constant pulling of the plantar fascia from the heel bone can promote excessive bone growth forming a heel spur.
Biomechanical issues including excessively pronated feet(flat feet), tight calf muscles and abnormal function of big toe increase the tension on the plantar fascia causing pain
Whether it is a heel spur or plantar fasciitis the method of treatment is similar.
Initially resting, gentle stretching and massaging of calf muscles, ice treatment, dry needling and anti-inflammatory medication may help reduce symptoms.
Long term treatment should include wearing footwear with increased support and structure as found in a good quality running shoe, especially when exercising or doing lots of standing or walking. Where warranted orthotics may be integrated into the treatment programme to improve alignment of the lower limb and address any underlying biomechanical issues such as “flat feet”.
Only in severe cases is an immobilisation boot considered.