“Listen to your body’s whispers before they become screams!”Dr. Eva Selhub
Heel pain or pain on the bottom or back of the foot is more common than you think. It afflicts the serious runner, a gym enthusiast, a walker, or even the housewife who stands for long periods of time. It is one of those conditions that is ignored for a long time before one seeks medical assistance. This is the reason why heel pain becomes chronic very quickly and tends to become a ‘companion for life’ if you are not careful.
Heel pain can be of two types and their causes and treatment may vary. Hence identifying your type of heel pain is important.
Types of Heel Pain
1. Heel pain that is termed Plantar Fasciitis
This is pain on the bottom of the heel that is most painful with the first step in the morning and eases during the day. When it is severe it may be painful all day long with pain upon standing and walking.
2. Heel pain that is classified as Achilles tendonitis
This is pain on the back of the heel, where the calf muscle inserts into the heel. This is usually painful with activities such as walking and stair climbing.
Cause and Onset
Heel pain is a condition that has no real onset or injury. It is a slow-building and worsening pain that can be quite debilitating if not treated well. Causes are many with the most common ones being improper footwear, tight muscles, no stretching, too much physical activity without enough recovery, and overuse of tissues around the heel.
If you begin to take steps to treat your heel pain immediately then it recovers quickly. You can do a few things at home that can give you relief but if after a few weeks of home treatment, the pain has not subsided then the sooner you meet a medical professional the better.
Home treatments include:
1. Ice packs application twice a day on the painful area
2. Changing footwear- use supportive shoes while on feet instead of flip flops or heels
3. Rest – avoid the activities that cause pain
4. Gentle stretching of the calf muscles
5. Releasing tightness in the calf and sole using a foam roller, handheld roller, or getting a sports massage.
6. Doing proper warm-up and cool down after your walking, running, or gymming.
If these treatments do not give relief then meet your sports physio to figure out the cause and treat accordingly. The longer you ignore the pain, the more chronic it gets, making it harder for the physio to reverse the symptoms. If nothing works then steroid/PRP injections can be beneficial but that should be only if all other treatments have not helped.
Remember, pain is a sign that something is wrong. Ignoring it doesn’t make it do away, it only makes it worse.
If you’ve started experiencing any kind of Physical Pain – neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, or knee pain
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